The Whole Picture

One morning last week I was trying to find the perfect vantage point to capture a photo of Biertan’s famous fortified church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Romania’s Transylvania region.  The right angle and elevation would allow me to focus on the church without distracting visual noise – street signs, electric wires, antennas, etc.  Walking up a slight incline on the side of the road, my children, as usual, along for the adventure, I found the perfect frame.  I zoomed, cropped and snapped.  Then I noticed I deliberately censoring reality.

The reality is that Biertan is a small village of people.  It’s not just a village with a famous church.  Those people, image bearers of their Creator, are more important than a fortified church.  Photographs of touristic sites or natural vistas often crop out the signs of people.  That is what makes the photos beautiful or notable, right?

Below I share some of my favorite photos, the desirable image juxtaposed against the reality.  In most cases, our – my – myopia diminishes the unwanted human element.  Sometimes the reality is difficult to contemplate.

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Biertan, as shown in the guidebooks.
Biertan, with a larger aperture.
Biertan, from the other side, with a larger aperture.
Sighișoara, Romania. Notable tourist hotspot.
Sighișoara, Romania. Notable tourist hotspot.
Sighișoara, Romania. The sign near the foreground of the previous photo.
Sighișoara, Romania. The sign near the foreground of the previous photo.
Remote grazing ground in along the Transfăgărășan highway in Romania.
Remote grazing ground along the Transfăgărășan highway in Romania.
Masses of people camping along the road below the not-as-remote-as-it-seems grazing area on the Transfăgărășan.
Masses of people camping along the road below the not-as-remote-as-it-seems grazing area on the Transfăgărășan.
Viridian rockscapes fed by mountain glaciers along the Transfăgărășan. . .
Viridian rockscapes fed by mountain glaciers along the Transfăgărășan. . .
. . . with a trash heap just to your right.
. . . with a trash heap just to your right.
Salzburg's glorious architecture.
Salzburg’s glorious architecture.
But don't just look up in Salzburg to awe at the steeples. Look down, embedded into the sidewalk in front of banks, homes and other buildings. This is also Salzburg.
But don’t just look up in Salzburg to awe at the steeples. Look down, embedded into the sidewalk in front of banks, homes and other buildings. This is also Salzburg.
Quaint, rustic sign in sleepy Sintra? Not really.
Quaint, rustic sign in sleepy Sintra, Portugal? Not really.
Crowded passageway with selfie-crazed tourists blocking the thoroughfare.
Crowded passageway with selfie-crazed tourists blocking the thoroughfare.

2 thoughts on “The Whole Picture

    1. Sometimes pictures speak for themselves, but I felt compelled to add the narrative. It causes one to take an extra close look – then perhaps the picture will speak another thousand words. Thank you for your kind compliment!

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