I have a family member who is very enthusiastic about photography and I am amazed at the different lenses that are available, all allowing a person to view something in a different way. There is the telephoto lens allowing us to photograph something a long distance away. Then there is the macro lens allowing us to ‘zone’ in with great detail on a subject. The wide angled lens gives us the opportunity to capture the wider picture and even peripheral vision. I have also come across ‘novelty’ lenses allowing a subject to become distorted, even unrecognizable. We can, of course, add filters for colour effect. What on earth has this got to do with JUST Lincolnshire and the message it is trying to convey? Well, the lens we choose to view the world, a community or individual through governs the image we see and consequently how we respond. We may be looking at the bigger and wider picture, thereby missing the beauty and importance of the detail. We may be ‘zoomed’ in so much on one detail we miss out on the bigger panoramic landscape that it is part of. I think that many of us have used a sepia filter to add the warm glow of nostalgia to our thinking, a time when things were always better and preferable to now. There are occasions when the lens we use distorts the image to such an extent it becomes unrecognizable. Individuals or communities can become stereotyped and labelled they become viewed as something other than individuals with hopes’ fears and stories to share. Of course there are times when we have to look at the detail or the bigger picture but let’s be careful that we use the right lens at the right time. I can view wonderful pictures of mountains, oceans, cities and people…but… they are only pictures they are not the real thing. I would much rather climb the mountains, swim in the sea, eat in the cities and talk with people. The father of general semantics, Alford Korzybski stated, “A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness”. What I see through the lens or in a photograph may be extremely useful or otherwise but is NOT the real thing.