During a holiday Netflix movie binge, I was watching “Jurassic Park” (1, 2 and 3). Please don’t judge! I was struck by a line Dr. Grant said to one of the kids in the movie: “I have a theory that there are two kinds of boys. There are those that want to be astronomers and those that want to be astronauts. The astronomer, or the paleontologist, gets to study these amazing things from a place of complete safety.”

The kid replies, “But then you never get to go into space.”

Dr. Grant responds, “Exactly. That’s the difference between imagining and seeing: to be able to touch things.”

This got me thinking — this could also apply to photographers. So which are you? Are you an astronomer or an astronaut?

The astronomer

The astronomer prefers to look and evaluate, to plan, to study. Perhaps learn everything they can about their chosen field. They intensely watch the world around them, perhaps even teach their findings to others.

It’s often a slow methodical approach, meticulous in detail and thought. They gauge the reactions and observations of others in the same field. They watch and learn from afar. While never actually visiting the stars themselves, but they know everything about them. They often have a larger view of the world. They are the dreamers.

The astronaut

The astronaut on the other hand is an adventurer. They will happily jump in without knowing if they can actually get to the stars, the important thing is to attempt it. They are curious and happy to travel where no one has gone before. They are experimental and inventive, ready to jump into the fray at the first sign of adventure, often heedless of the risks or perhaps accepting of the risks of failure.

They know each failure will teach them something new about the stars or themselves. They are not happy to simply sit back and watch. They need to be in the action … to actually touch the stars. They are the explorers.

Astronaut planning their next adventure
Photo by Adam Miller on Unsplash

A little of both

I am not even sure it’s an either-or situation here. I would like to be more of an adventurer and while I do take lots of calculated risks, I think I am probably more of a dreamer than a doer. I wish I could explore so many wonderful sights in this world, but am realistic in my efforts of actually achieving, whether physically or financially.

I am ever so happy to cheer others on and watch their adventures and dream about them. But there is no reason why we can’t be a little bit of both, is there? 

Do you think it is one of the other? I’d love to know! So which are you? Are you an astronomer or an astronaut?