Google may have captured every square inch of Earth’s surface with its cameras, but seeing the world in two dimensions doesn’t compare to having a 3D visceral experience. If you’ve been admiring places around the world from your computer, but haven’t jumped on a plane to have a real experience, you should.
“You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.” – William Hazlitt
Here’s how to take your flat, two-dimensional experience to the next level of experience:
1. Explore sacred and historic sites to get the full scoop
When you visit historic sites, locals will tell you legends you won’t learn on Google. Some historic places even have reenactments so you can experience more than just scenery.
For example, you can visit the Tower of London, the oldest palace and prison in Europe, and experience re-enactments that put you in the middle of 15th century Tudor London.
If the medieval history of kings and queens isn’t your cup of tea, you can visit historic sites where famous pieces of art depicting UFOs originated. It doesn’t matter where you go – just go in person!
2; Stand in awe of oil paintings in person
Although subtle from a distance, oil paintings have a visible 3D texture and you can see the many layers and brushstrokes, adding depth and dimension to your experience.
According to Ideelart.com, “Texture is an important part of our interaction with art. It is one of the seven formal artistic elements, along with line, color, shape, form, value and space. It can affect mood, evoke psychological associations, bring attention to a medium, or divert our focus toward materials used in a work. Used adeptly, texture can even challenge our perception of what is real.”
Unfortunately, texture is lost with digital photography. No matter how much you enhance shadows and adjust hues and contrast in Photoshop, you’ll never be able to fully recreate the texture of an oil painting on a 2D surface.
Even the 3D illusions drawn on city streets by talented chalk artists need to be experienced in person to get the full effect.
Get in the scene
You can’t compare looking at a photo to standing in front of an original masterpiece like Gettysburg Cyclorama, painted by Paul Philippoteaux. This massive painting measures 377 feet wide by 42 feet tall.
When you look at a photo of a painting, all that stands out are the talent of the artist, how vibrant the colors are (or aren’t), and what’s going on in the scene. When you stand in front of an original painting, you are in the scene and it comes alive. The brushstrokes tell a story. The details are striking. You want to know everything about the artist and your attention goes deeper into the painting itself. You’ll discover things you can’t see in a photograph.
Keep the inspiration alive even after you return home
Once you’ve seen these works of art in person, you won’t want to take home flat 2D prints. A reproduction of the original painting will keep you filled with the same inspiration and awe you felt when you were standing in front of the original.
Be cautioned that museums might have reproductions for sale, but they come with limitations. Either your poster or print will be limited to the size of your suitcase, or you’ll have to spend a lot of money to ship it internationally.
If you like, you can order a reproduction from a gallery like 1st Art Gallery. Their talented artists will hand paint anything in any size, so you can get exactly what you want.
3. Look up from your maps and diagrams
I remember driving through Yosemite with a friend; we pulled over to admire the view. As I took in the beauty of the mountains surrounding us, my friend fumbled with a map searching for the name of the mountain.
Maps are useful to a point, but you’ll miss the experience if you stare at a map for too long.
4. Don’t experience precious moments through a camera lens
Everyone wants photos to take home and remember the moments, but some moments can’t be captured on film. When a bear or a deer runs in front of someone, the first thing they do is grab their camera. By the time they’re ready, the animal is gone and the experience is missed by both the person and the camera.
Even if you’re quick enough to capture the moment, you don’t get to actually experience that moment when you’re looking through the lens of a camera.
The next time you find a beautiful image on Google of a painting, or a place, if you can see yourself in that image, it’s time to go have the real experience.