Perhaps the 50-mm communicates an anxiety about whether an individual can understand someone else’s vision. Under the right circumstances, a 50-mm lens does create a perspectival relationship that, more or less, approximates the ways the majority of people see their everyday world. But it’s still relative. Mechanically, it’s relative to the specific apparatus to which the lens is attached. And metaphorically, it’s relative to all the social, emotional, or economic conditions that shape the everyday lives people inhabit. Perhaps we should be skeptical of the whole idea of a shared perspective. Rather, it is the difference between our lenses that leads to a better understanding of how machines, and people, see in the first place. — How the 50-mm Lens Became ‘Normal’

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