Details, Details, Details

“But look at the bigger picture.”

“You need to see this from a larger perspective.”

“Look at this in the greater scheme of things.”

What is the bigger picture? What does it mean to see from a larger perspective? How great is the greater scheme of things?

It’s just the loss of detail.

Detail defines everything. In our everyday lives, we don’t want to see that our one plastic wrapper could end up in the ocean. Or the C02 from our car escaping into the atmosphere. Or how our one climb wore down the anchors. It’s easier to hide behind the big numbers: there’s tons of plastic in the ocean, tons of extra C02 to breathe, and tons of people climbing that 3 star route. But there can’t be a ton without the smallest unit, you and I, the details.

This year, in my studio art class, I was given the task of developing an idea over a series of works. In my art, I explore the issue of detail. I show Carrot’s progression through a climb while only focusing on the small details. When all of the photos come together, you can see and understand how he felt while climbing. No big picture could offer such a perspective. The only important parts to the big picture are the details, so why not focus on them? Had I merely pictured Carrot on some tall wall, you’d have studied the photo to see the holds, his shoes, the rope, his facial expression, or, in other words, the details, anyway. Thus, the big picture would have been rendered useless.


Details make actions powerful. Being a part of the great climbing community doesn’t really mean anything, but taking the time to mentor a new climber means that one more person can competently belay. One more person can buy the right gear. One more person can stay out of trouble at the crag. And who knows? Maybe that one person will mentor a new climber later on, so that one more person can…

Oh, you get the picture, right?

Editor’s Note:

To see the entire project, visit my portfolio under the “Gallery” tab. There’s also a taste on our Instagram (@thedihedral). The final piece is mixed media: digital photos, oil on wood, and contact paper. Let me know what you think!

High-Clip (Co-writer)

21 Replies to “Details, Details, Details”

  1. I like your project and I get your point — but you could have constructed the message beginning with the big picture, too. I’m a person who sees the big picture first then investigates the details to see “How.” I think it’s because that’s a physical challenge I have had all my life. I’m nearsighted so, without my glasses, I can’t see everything. Until I was five, I didn’t see leaves on trees from a distance, but I could see the tree. It was a wonderful thing when I could see BOTH at the same time. When I think of climbing I think of the whole, then “how” which is the assembly of details which, on a real rock, might be unknown until you’re there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I both agree and disagree with you here. There ARE tons of plastic in the ocean; that is why the detail of one person throwing away his or her plastic is so important. You have to convert one or two people at time to get to the big picture of ridding the world of all plastic waste. I recently saw a story about some “big picture” people who have made a profitable business out of recovering and recycling plastic in the ocean – so seeing the big picture works as well. With climbing, you have a big picture of everyone climbing safely; you achieve that by starting with the detail of mentoring one new climber. It works both ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see what you mean. Context is always helpful, though I would just argue that it’s really meaningless without the smallest details. Perhaps it just depends on what you think is the best way to make a difference. Thank you for your thoughts!


    1. Thanks! Haha, I would argue it’s almost always about the tinier details…what significance would a bigger picture have otherwise?


  3. What a great perspective! I agree that a lot of people say, “Look at the big picture” very often. It is helpful, but sometimes there is so much more in the details like you said.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting project, love this sentence in your words : “But there can’t be a ton without the smallest unit, you and I, the details.”

    But it’s a tough job, when I try to explain someone that a their plastic bag could finish in the ocean and be eaten by a whale people do not seem to understand to importance of individual action to protect our world…so sad!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Robert! It is difficult to understand and even more so to take responsibility. It’s a lot easier to shrug it off, and I’ve definitely been guilty of that.

      Liked by 1 person

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