Looking the other direction to learn more deeply

Seeing The Great Wave off Kanagawa print from right to left opened my eyes to the power of its message

Looking the other direction to learn more deeply
Modified photo. Gallery photo by Klaudia Piaskowska on Unsplash. The Great Wave off Kanagawa from Wikipedia.

Have you ever noticed that in The Great Wave off Kanagawa print by Hokusai has more than 20 people in it? I certainly didn’t and the clip below from the excellent BBC series, The Art of Japanese Life, gave me a whole new appreciation for this picture.

Watch starting at 36:17 to see the specific example of the The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

The impact of looking at something from left to right, versus right to left has profound implications. To understand this concretely, I made myself a learning object with the tools I know best—graphic manipulation. Look at the difference in impact when you compare the image that blurs the right vs. the one blurred on the left.

Our attention on the power of the wave in the image blurred on the right doesn't convey the terror the fishermen must be feeling when we blur the left. I made the leap to think about this in more educational contexts.

How much impact can simply changing the order of artifacts have on someone’s love for a subject?

How intentional are instructors about the order of information that’s being presented?

What influences the direction of an individual's mind towards what they are trying to learn?

I’m only at the beginning of a lifelong journey to get more intentional about the way I view art. This isn’t the first perspective shift example I’ve seen, but it struck me differently because it’s an artistic work that resonates with me.

It’s as if previously those lessons were viewed from left to right, and this time I finally saw it from right to left. You might be doing the same in many areas of your life. Consider what it might take to shift your view and help others do it too.