Over the next 52 weeks I will post a photo based on a different theme, revealed every Friday from The Daily Post. I hope you join me back here each week and follow me on this journey. See you soon!
Week Thirty-Six: Mirror
What do you see when you look in a mirror? At one time or another, I’ve seen any one of the words below and believed it. Thankfully age has allowed me to see what is really there…a woman with value. A woman worthy of respect and love, especially from myself.
Week Thirty-Five: Frame
Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Any one of those can be used to frame a question.
Sometimes I spend far too long thinking about how to frame a question when maybe I should just go ahead and ask.
Week Thirty-Four: Rare
This photo may not be worth a thousand words but believe me, when you understand the why it’ll be worth a thousand “oooooooh”s; maybe even a few “oh boy….”s followed by a grimaced face.
We have a skunk in our garage. He/She has been there for 24 hours now and I’m really hoping it leaves tonight. My dog, who is normally allowed to freely roam the yard, has been cooped up in the house and allowed out only when on a leash. I DO NOT want to deal with a foul smelling dog and garage just because he wants to play with the skunk. Sorry, Charlie.
This morning when I found it hiding behind plywood, I cautiously and respectfully leaned the plywood back against the wall and went inside to Google “how to get a skunk to leave your garage”. There was plenty of info out there so I tried the least likely to cause the skunk to leave his lingering odor in my garage, on me, or on Charlie….or all of the above. So I laid out some leftover noodles from a tuna noodle salad (some other critter enjoyed them), I dusted flour across the exit routes so I could see telltale paw prints of his departure and just a few minutes ago I threw chunks of ripe smelling banana in a path leading out of the garage. By morning, I hope to see the telltale paw prints that belong to the skunk no longer inhabiting my garage. A rare sight indeed when you see someone’s garage door opening dusted with flour.
Week Thirty-Three: Fun
This was supposed to be a pretty simple topic, right? I mean really, just photograph something fun – it can’t get much simpler. But I allowed myself to get wrapped up in worrying about what other people might consider fun, making this week’s topic much more difficult than it needed to be. Here I was, scouring through photos in my database trying to find one that people would say, “Yeah, now that looks like fun!” when I realized that I wasn’t having fun. So I just said, “Screw it! Who cares what other people think is fun, what matters is that it’s fun to ME.” So here’s what I think is fun and if people want to join me, we can have fun together. If they don’t, so be it…I’ll still be having fun.
Week Thirty-Two: Morning
I’m writing this week’s post prior to the photo because I want my morning photo to be what it’s going to be. I don’t want it predetermined; I want it to be the first view of the day. Now, I may be lucky to find the sun above the horizon and my dog still asleep by the time I wake but it’s highly unlikely. He seems insistent that I become a morning person and is raring to go with the first dawn’s light…and I do mean first light, like barely light outside first light…like the sun isn’t even quite sure it’s ready to start the day first light.
When I think of really early mornings, I also remember what school mornings used to be like when I’d get up in the predawn hours of winter to make my kids’ breakfast. I’ve always believed that God never intended for us to be up before the sun – even the early bird waits til there is some natural light to get that worm. Anyway, I didn’t want to wake up any sooner than God intended so I would come down the stairs in the dark, not wanting to accost my eyes with the glare of unnatural light and, at times, use only the under cabinet lighting and the light from the refrigerator to guide me in preparing a hearty breakfast. My kids would wander down to the kitchen in the predawn light and eat whatever I put in front of them, thankful that they didn’t have to open their eyes to pour milk in a cereal bowl like other school kids they knew.
Week Thirty-One: Narrow
I struggled with this one because I didn’t want to choose the cliches of narrow: alleys, streets, windows, and doorways. And I most certainly didn’t want to happen across a scene in which someone had a narrow escape from death so that left me scratching my head, once again. What’s narrow? Who’s narrow minded? Is there a narrow focus group I can photograph? A narrow window of opportunity? I then decided to look up the definition of narrow and found several, of course, leaving me no better off than I was at the onset.
And then it came to me, before I even found an image: narrow is only as small in complexity as to the subject. I mean really – a narrow bridge may be narrow for a truck, much less narrow for a car, not at all narrow for a cyclist and more than ample space for a pedestrian. So what is narrow? I don’t think there is one finite image of narrow, one finite definition or opinion, even one finite escape with death. Have you ever seen the YouTube video of the octopus escaping through a narrow slot on a boat? I didn’t even have to see the video again to realize that narrow truly is unique to each being. It is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder.
Narrow minded people are only narrow minded if you don’t agree with their point of view. A narrow focus group might consist of 10 out of 100 but what if there are 1 million in that group? Is 100 not narrow then? The narrowest part of a river bed might be impossible to cross for even the strongest swimmer but it is certainly narrower than an ocean strait. Even a narrow escape from death is unique to each survivor.
What narrow does mean, to everyone, is this: slow down, look, listen and think before you act. Then traverse the narrows in your life.
Week Thirty: Cherry On Top
Gathering of friends at the beach.
Camping in the mountains.
Evenings at the family lake house.
Sitting ‘round the campfire.
I love you.
Week Twenty-Nine: Details
“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” -Ernest Hemingway
Details, details, details! In the vastness of a very complicated and fast paced world, it is incredibly easy to miss the smaller details in our everyday lives. We have all been scolded for, or had pointed out to us, the minute details we missed in our writing, household chores, child rearing skills, managerial skills, artistic creations, even our life skills. It’s enough to drive you buggers, so much so that at times you may just want to say, “Screw it!” and walk away from your ambitions.
So why bother? Why bother carve out the consummate details in what we do? Well, quite frankly, because details do matter. Computer software programs are intolerant to imperfect syntax. Any error, from a misplaced comma to a missing semicolon will have dramatic results, almost always resulting in a failure to run. It’s because of details that photographers, videographers, and painters alike can take the viewer on an emotional journey. The tiny notations in a musical composition enables the listener to experience the thoughts and emotions of a composer long since passed.
Details, no matter how small or insignificant one may deem them to be, complete. To dismiss them just because they seem trivial or ugly would be a grave error. It is our imperfection that make us human, the imperfect detail that makes us beautiful and living organisms.
Week Twenty-Six: Partners
Partners: being a part of; inseparable.
When I saw the roots of this birch tree embracing the solid boulder I was moved by the natural appearance of love and support between these two life forms. How they had formed a partnership together – one seemingly lifeless mass of rock supporting a living organism and in return, the tree’s life force offering a lover’s embrace.
Partners for life speaks of an emotional attachment to a loved one be it friend or lover. It usually takes something drastic and life changing to break up a partnership; something powerful enough to break the bond that two beings formed together over time. The death of a partnership can be devastatingly brutal, a life force forged over time separated by an unknown but greater force. And like the bond between this tree and boulder, there will be some remnant of the partnership left behind when the tree is felled; an emotional trail of the deeply rooted bond formed between two separate beings.
Week Twenty-Five: Curve
What’s the difference between a curve and a bend in the road….a woman’s curvaceous figure versus a ninety degree bend at the elbow….the curve seen in the crescent moon and the optical bend of light seen through a prism? A softness not typically found in bends. Curves allow the eye to gently follow a continuing line, without interruption. The curve of a smile visually guides us up into the eye of another human being, pairing the visual cue of happiness from mouth to eye. The curve of the crescent moon helps us slide along the curve before launching us into space where we will find countless stars, allowing us to wonder at the vastness of the universe.
A twisting river hides its secrets around bends, filling the not so adventurous with anxious thoughts of what’s to come. Compare that to the soft curve of a slow moving river where gentle turns allow us a glimpse of what is ahead, giving one time to plan and react. Curves lend themselves to a softness; a gentle approach to what comes next.
Week Twenty-Three: Numbers
Math is in Photography. Can’t see it? I’ll point it out to you.
Ph 0+0 graph y
Whoddathunk? Surely I missed that key point when I chose to pursue photography. I took a couple of workshops to see if photography was ‘my thing’ and I was hooked. Then I started taking classes and I’m bombarded with 50mm, 35mm, film speed, ISO, shutter speed (FRACTIONS!!!!), aperture (small is big and big is small) step down is really up (or is it?). And then I took a couple of dark room classes and OMG, more math! Ratios! Come on people, I thought this was art!
I really can’t say I have it all figured out yet and maybe I never will but one thing is certain – the mathematical portion of photography isn’t enough to scare me away. It’s enough to give me moments of anxiety, being found out that math is not my strong suit, but when I can spend any given number of hours doing what I love…well, that is why I decided to pursue photography. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t know math was involved beforehand…I may have steered away from something that is immensely pleasing to me. And that would have equaled a moment missed.
Disclaimer: Above information is not text book accurate. Any errors are not a result of poor teaching but rather the student. 😉
Week Twenty: Face
“I hate it! It’s awful!” “I’m going to throw this away, you know.” “Oh, it’s awful!”
That’s what I heard when I showed my mother in law a photo I had taken of her. She made no mistake in telling me how much she hated it yet I calmly replied to her loathing with, “That’s okay, I like it.”
The next day I submitted it in a class I was taking and they loved it; every single person in the class loved it. I’ve gone on to show it to the chair of the photo department and he loves it and wants me to do more like it. Nearly everyone I’ve shown this photo to has loved it and I am tasked with trying to emulate it using other people as my subject. I’ve yet to capture the essence of the person but I will; I think this capture came easier because I have known her for many years, allowing me to tell her story in a photo.
She no longer hates it, so how did I win her over? Well, it helped that she was the subject of everyone’s admiration for this photo but something else brought an appreciation for the beauty in this photo. She hated it because she saw herself as an old woman with wrinkles and gray hair. It was only after I asked her to step out of the portrait and look at it as a photo essay of one woman’s life that she truly understood why everyone loved it so much. I explained to her that each wrinkle was a story of love and loss, of tears and joys; that these made up her story and only in living a long life are we honored to wear each and every line as testament of a life lived. That’s what won her over….stepping out of the photo and looking at her, this woman, as a woman who has lived.
Week Nineteen: Earth
I once was asked why I didn’t want to use weed barrier in my vegetable garden. I mean why not? After hearing the many benefits of using weed barrier to ease the struggle of maintaining a weed free, productive vegetable garden why would anyone not want to use weed barrier.
Well, anyone is not me. It’s not that I like to do things the hard way; heck who does? My reason was anything but work related, be it hard work or minimizing it to be easy. No, my reason was strictly sensory in nature. I love the feeling of the cool, moist earth on my feet and hands (I don’t use gloves either). That’s it – pretty simple reason really but a reason that echoes deep within me. I love the scent and feel of the earth and gardening allows me to immerse myself wholeheartedly. I want to garden no other way.
Week Eighteen: Admiration
Simple, really. I could scour the web, history books, school yearbooks and I’d still find only one person that I would really want to showcase as someone I admire, and that is my mom. And I really don’t think it’s as easy a pick as some may think cuz yeah, many people could say “I admire my mom” but what is needed are words to back up that statement, words that truly back up what qualities are worthy of admiration.
She’s nice, sure. Kind? You betcha. Helpful? That too, but honestly those are traits that in a perfect world we would all possess. Has she overcome severe health issues? No, thankfully, not that either. What she possesses is a strength and courage that regardless of how tired she may become due to the obstacles and challenges life sets before her, she still gets up every day determined to keep her body and mind equally strong. Believe me, my mom has every good reason to just say “screw it…I’m done with this bullshit” and just retreat to a comfy spot on the couch and watch daytime television drama until her life comes to a close. Why not? Many elderly people do – many healthy, vital elderly people make that choice to just stop ‘living’. Not my mom.
At 71 years of age, she went with her children and grandchildren to an indoor climbing wall and participated! Phenomenal! At 75, she and I traveled to Austria and spent two weeks touring that beautiful countryside as well as parts of Italy. She walked, and she walked, and she walked, day in and day out. Memories made! At 78, she and I went hiking with my brother and his family. She insisted on clamoring up rocks, “I can do it!” she’d proclaim with a wave of her hand, or “Just let me try by myself”. In her success she found happiness. In her success, I found my own determination to be more like her as I age.
My dad and she were married 28 years before he passed away at the too young age of 50. I’ve always wanted to make sure I live a life worthy of the years my father missed. Watching my mom live her life with hope, stubbornness and just plain grit has made her worthy of admiration and emulation. When I grow up, I want to be just like my mom…fierce, loving, kind, giving, gentle and determined and all with a quiet and humble inner strength.
Week Seventeen: Abstract
Sometimes it is all in the way someone looks at an image that makes it ‘normal, everyday’ or abstract. The everyday can be abstract, sometimes without even trying because of the way the light hits the norm or what angle we are looking at it from…is our head tilted to the right, looking up from an angle? It’s how this image presented itself to me….perfectly normal cooking mess but I thought it kinda looked like art as well.
Bon Appetit……or not.
Week Sixteen: Dinnertime
Springtime side-dish: asparagus. I hated asparagus growing up and even most of my adult life until someone said that it could be grilled. The day I tasted grilled asparagus was the day I became a fan. If you’ve never tried it, do cuz it is delicious!
This particular sprig pictured here showed up on it’s own at our front door, literally. Asparagus is typically planted with roots not seed, but apparently this was one hardy variety showing up this spring on the edge of the walkway leading to our front door. I think I’ll have a couple more sprigs in a day or two to add to the plethora of stalks growing in my father-in-law’s garden. But tonight, it’s just this guy mixed in with a batch from the in-laws.
Week Fifteen: Future
Okay, so this may not be an entirely positive photo if you look at it just for what it is. Yup, it’s our future – each and every one of us will someday end up here. But what I find ultimately positive about this photo is that if we live our present future with the utmost energy and joy, making every moment count, when the final day of our future ends here on earth, we can rejoice in knowing that our past will have so many joyful memories, many more joyful than those of regret and pain. Our life, our name, our memories will be shared with joy by those we’ve left behind. And we will have set an example for those we do leave behind – encouraging them to live their future with joy and optimism and hope. We don’t always know our future nor do we know how many days of future that we get to embrace and live – so live your future knowing the number of future days we have are not limitless but they are intended to be lived with passion.
Week Fourteen: Landscape
Again, I had to pull from my archives as this has been the most abysmal winter and spring that taking any landscape photo has been, well let’s just say impossible unless you like gray and brown. So before I go off on another whiny tangent on just how much I have disliked this winter, I will say that FINALLY the grass is starting to green up and buds are pushing on the trees. I’ve never been so happy to see Spring’s arrival as I am this year.
I have family out west and so I travel there often, visiting the great outdoors available year ’round whenever I can. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love New England and primarily for it’s four season wonder; it’s just this past winter was very disappointing to me. So, I’m pulling a photo I took while on a recent trip to Arizona’s Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Park.
Week Thirteen: Half-Light
The challenge this week was to share a photograph inspired by a favorite poem, verse, story or song lyric. The poem Watching and Wishing, written by Charlotte Bronte, is full of color and calm, much like the half-light found at dawn or dusk. The flow of the poem is fluid and graceful, singing to me as I read it aloud or in my head, as calming and fluid as the ocean’s tide. Enjoy.
…and the colorful imagery in the poem inspired the photo
Week Twelve: Dance
Okay, right up front I want you to know that I am not posting a photo taken by me so I ask your forgiveness. Instead, I am posting a photo of me, taken by someone else and hopefully by the end of this post you will understand the reasoning for my decision.
I LOVE to dance, ask any one of my kids and they’ll say the same. I danced with my siblings growing up, I took dance lessons, I went to school dances, I danced with my kids as babies and then toddlers and if they allowed, we would dance at home to music playing on the stereo as they grew into their teen years. But there was one dance I never got the chance to enjoy and that was with my father at my wedding.
As mentioned in an earlier post, my dad died of a sudden heart attack just three months before my wedding. As a child, I enjoyed dancing with my dad. He loved to swing dance and I remember fondly the times he would try to teach me the jitterbug. With great love and much laughter, he would try and teach me the two step in the family room of our home. I never really got the swing of it (pardon the pun) but we never stopped enjoying the fun in our efforts.
Fast forward 29 years and I found myself getting ready for my eldest son’s wedding, looking for a mother-of-the-groom dress that would say who I was as a mom and it certainly wasn’t going to be the typical matronly look of many dresses. I found one that suited me perfectly, full of color and joy. And then, yeah, then the most wonderful thing happened in my life – my son told me he didn’t want to just do the typical mother-son dance at the wedding. He wanted a dance and song that would embrace who he and I were as mother and son, two people who enjoyed the same music and who both loved to dance. And so we signed up for a few dance lessons and learned to do the triple-step, picked our music and danced to Earth, Wind and Fire’s Sing a Song, surprising all in attendance at my son’s wedding. It was awesome – quite simply one of the best moments in my life. I wore a bracelet that day that my dad had given to my mom many years ago so that I could have a piece of my dad there with me at my son’s wedding while I danced a dance I was never able to enjoy with him. When it was over, I walked over to my mom, tears flowing and as I embraced her I said, “That was for daddy; I finally got my dance.”
Week Eleven: One Love
Believe it or not, I struggled wholeheartedly over what this theme could actually look like in a photo. Yeah, this world is screaming out for us to love one another and Lord knows I’ve spent a life time so far trying to spread the love, encouraging and instructing my children to show love to others, not only to family but co-workers, friends and even strangers as well. So why am I having such a hard time? Maybe because I feel so strongly about showing love to others I don’t really know how to capture it in a photo. I often find myself showing love to people by the words I say and the actions I take so how do I photograph that? I don’t want to make a show of it by tooting my own horn and setting up a camera for a ‘remote shutter selfie’ of me being kind to someone or staging a set up. So, I’m late this week and I’m late because I really didn’t know how to show it. Ultimately, I’m not even sure this photo shows “one love” but in words I can tell you that it is one way I am showing love.
Let me start by proclaiming, I am not a knitter. I have not, nor will I ever profess to being a knitter. Now, that being said, I do knit. I’ve knit some hats for my sons, a few scarves for friends and family, and because I’m really not a knitter, I started knitting baby blankets about six years ago for my still, non-existent grandchildren. I am six rows from completing my third baby blanket. There are no intricate designs, just straight knit-purl with a border of seed stitch. I started six years ago because I don’t knit. I only picked up knitting because I hurt my back about 9 years ago and while recovering, a friend brought me over her knitting basket and said, “Here….this will fill your time.” So, I taught myself to knit. In the tutorial she left me, I saw a really cute baby blanket that I said to myself, “Hey, I like that. I think I’ll learn to knit that for my grandbabies.” I have five children, (three sons and two nieces) so they each will get one for their family to share…there is NO WAY I plan on knitting a blanket for each baby because like I said, I don’t knit. And I’m knitting a sixth for a young woman I reached out to when her own mom died…she doesn’t know about it yet, but she too will have a hand knit baby blanket for her child when the day comes.
So why choose a photo of a baby blanket? Cuz sometimes love is doing something that you find not altogether fun or easy. Sometimes, one love is giving of yourself in a world full of asking for oneself. One love is about loving others, about giving of oneself…so, here is one of the finished baby blankets that I knit and someday a grandchild of mine will be wrapped in his or her GiGi’s love even when she isn’t present to wrap them up in her embrace.
Week Ten: Harmony
For those of us old enough to remember, and those who peruse the internet in search of popular jingles or songs, the advertising campaign by the Coca-Cola Company in the 1970’s centered around the world living together in harmony as sung by a group of people from varying nationalities. I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) became an iconic classic of the seventies and synonymous with people living together in harmony while enjoying a coke. The story of its beginnings is actually quite interesting if you’d like to read more – after finishing my entry though, please. 😉
But that’s not my photo of the week because though I did start to sing that jingle in my head for whatever reason when sitting down to write this week’s entry, it most definitely is not what harmony means to me. Even living in harmony is not what speaks to me when generalizing what harmony means to me – though I must admit living in harmony whether in your own home, or in the world, is a rather nice ideal to strive toward. No, what speaks to me is music and though it may seem rather trite, music has been a part of my life since I was a very small child. I started piano when I was five years old and took lessons til I started college and then again as an adult once my own children were in school. To me, harmony is what makes the melody truly sing. It’s not always easy to sing harmony and I, having an alto singing voice, have always struggled to not slide into the easy melody of choral music. It’s also not easy to play or even like learning the harmony in a piano piece – its most often found in the left hand, the right carrying the much more recognizable and stronger melody. But if you consider that any solo singing voice or instrument is usually accompanied by another instrument, the harmonic chords are what make the voice or instrument truly sing.
For this week’s photo, just as a bit of decision making info, I chose to photograph my all time worst – and favorite – piece I learned to play in my youth. When I first started learning Siciliano by JS Bach, I hated it. My instructor made me learn the left hand first because of the complexity of the piece and I HATED IT. I hated going home to practice it, I hated going to lessons and being scolded if I hadn’t practiced enough – but when I put the right hand together with the left, that piece became a treasured performance piece for me. So I hope you enjoy my photo rendition of harmony as well as the above YouTube recording of Tatiana Nikolayeva playing J.S. Bach’s Siciliano.
Week Nine: State of Mind
What?! State of mind?! My state of mind is muddled and foggy and not all together with it…I’ve been sick for the past week. Not a lot of fun but in the grand scheme of things it most definitely could be worse. I’ve been struggling with what type of photo to post that would reflect my current state of mind since I’ve been sick and going out with camera in hand has not been my top priority. Knowing that today starts another cycle of weekly topic, I found myself sitting once again at my desk trying to figure out how I could possibly contribute a photo for week nine. Do I issue a ‘pass’ this one time?
As is so often the case though, something usually comes to the forefront and I have my photo. This time it came to me while I was reflecting on how fuzzy my hearing is right now, how foggy it seems in my head due to my enduring head cold…that photo I took several years ago. I do apologize that it is not a current photo but it was the best I could do to reflect my current state of mind in a photo. It’s how I feel right now and have felt all week….foggy, muddled, sleepy.
Week Eight: Seasons
Broad topic, as I’m coming to find with this weekly challenge. We are left to interpret the week’s theme how we wish which at times is awesome and yet, at others, is tremendously daunting. Seasons of our life? Seasons of the sun? I guess since I don’t really know what season of life I am in, I will stick with the traditional four seasons and the one that I am currently experiencing in New England, drab. What? Wait! That’s not a season so what is going on?!
It’s winter and not only winter, but it’s winter in New England which last I knew meant snowy, cold Februaries. This? This is drab, so obviously we’re not experiencing winter in the northeast region of the United States. I want the frosted windows of my youth…aw heck, the frosted windows of last year would do. I’m starting to show signs of seasonal affective disorder – SAD about no snow.
Where is my beloved winter, Mr. Snow Miser? Has your heated sibling won a wager to keep the snow from hitting my neck of the woods? I hope drab doesn’t continue to be the winter of New England. I don’t like brown and I really don’t like being sad.
Week Seven: Life Imitates Art
Life imitating art….I’m kind of cheating on this one cuz I lack a creative, on-call button. I’m not saying I can’t be creative, in fact I am my most creative when inspiration strikes me. When I am at my very least creative is when I am called upon to be creative. I’m finding the challenge to ‘create’ art especially difficult in school right now. So much of my passion and creativity is sparked by life, not in my head and not through direction. It is created when I am moved, when I connect to what I see. Maybe it’s not always ‘art’ but rather a moment that I can carve out of time, out of my own life, out of my own experience.
I wrote this poem a few years ago, when I was pretty down. We’ve all been there, I’m quite certain of it, and for me I find poetry to be my creative outlet. Is it art? Not exactly. But it’s me and I create something through my words and pictures. Life is art so it stands to reason that when we are living, when we choose to live, we are creating art every single moment that we breathe. It’s what it is to be on this earth – to add our own texture, our own color to this masterpiece.
I chose life….or maybe life chose me. Either way – I’m glad that I can always see through the darkness, through the fog and embrace the tears, the fear, the joys and know that every piece of my being is a mark of beauty on this earth, my life creating art.
(the photo is also mine)
Week Six: Time
Ironic that the topic for week six is Time and I let time slip right by and missed my Thursday post. My apologies!
Time. A clock on the wall ticking away. Life being marked each year with the passing of time. Time to take out the trash. “You never have time for _____!” You name it, we all seem to need more of it and all too quickly it passes us without a moment’s notice.
I’ve marked time….in a book, a journal to be specific. Several journals to be exact. I marked the passage of time in each of my child’s life from the moment I learned of their life beginning inside me. I marked the passage of time leading up to my marriage, the engagement period and all the excitement of planning a wedding to the agony and pain of my father’s untimely death just three months before my wedding day and then once again, the night before we said our vows. I’ve marked the passage of my own life in journals – sometimes with poetry, sometimes with large, flowing script showing my anger and other times with calm, even script I write about the joys or questions I have along the passing of time in my own life.
Journals keep record of a time in the past and also show a commitment I made to take the time to record a moment – a gift that I value dearly. Time is something I didn’t have enough of with my father and so I’ve learned, time is something to treasure and to take note of…in photos, in print, in person.
Week Five: Vibrant
Find something vibrant in a bleak and brown northeast winter? This winter has been terribly disappointing for a tried and true northerner such as I. The seasonal changes found here in New England are what I love most about where I have lived nearly my entire life. The one season I don’t like here is brown. Brown isn’t a season you say? It is here…it falls right between Fall and Winter and then again between Winter and Spring. I don’t like brown as a season. It’s typically frigid and frozen or mild and muddy. And when they get mixed up it can be frozen mud…what fun is that for winter play. So, up until today (I know, I’m a day into week six) it was the type of brown that was mild and muddy. If it’s winter, I want snow and the more the merrier. Remember, I’ve spent the past 43 years of my life here and back when I was a kid we had snowstorms the likes of what happened in D.C. this past January or in Boston in the winter of 2015.
So how would I find vibrant in what otherwise was a dreary, dreary winter so far? Well, for starters my Red Lion amaryllis bloomed but better still, it’s snowing! YAY! So enjoy what I find a vibrant red that for me indicates joy not only in the color itself but also in the white snowy backdrop that also brings me joy.
Week Four: Optimistic
So, I could say I’m optimistic that I can complete this challenge and post weekly but that’s only if I don’t mess up like I did this week. I wrote my post, inserted photo and pingback and nothing happened. I waited and still nothing. Somehow I deleted this week’s entry so here once again, I’m being optimistic and trying one more time to not screw this up. LOL
Yeah, ‘optimistic’ is pretty obscure as to how to show that in a photo. I originally started out coming at the challenge from a different angle, thinking of a way to show my optimism in the face of a life challenge. For instance, I thought dancing in the rain would make an awesome photo. One problem though….it’s winter and the idea of dancing in a 55° degree (at best) ‘rain shower’ from the garden hose wasn’t too appealing to me. However, I was stuck on that idea all week, so stuck that I nearly gave up on being able to complete this week’s challenge. But then, at 10:30 last night (Wednesday) on my way home from the airport I finally got an idea that I could embrace and that would fully depict optimism.
Film photography. In an age where digital and in-phone camera technology allows anyone immediate access to a photograph, I’ve chosen to study film photography in addition to digital during my final year at school. It requires just a tad bit (said with sarcasm) of optimism to believe that not only can I take a well composed photograph without immediate feedback, but there are also many other steps where something can go wrong before I see the finished print. Even the very initial step of putting the film in the camera can go wrong – I’ve ‘shot’ a whole roll of film before realizing I didn’t fully advance the film. Then there is processing and drying the film…ever see the damage minute particles of dust stuck to the emulsion side of the negative can do to a photo? I have. And yet I continue to put forth effort from start to finish – processing, enlarging, exposing, developing, printing, mounting – all with an optimistic hope that what I finally end up with is art. Do I succeed every time? Heck no! But I remain optimistic that I will succeed.
Week Three: Alphabet
When I saw this topic, I blanched. I’m not a wholly creative person as far as creating a photo and that’s all I could think of – I’d have to arrange letters creatively or open a can of alphabet soup and see what presented itself. But I lucked out while in conversation with my brother at his dining room table. I was talking to him about the photo challenge, showing him what people have already posted and sharing my previous two posts. I was explaining to him that the theme was the alphabet, letters…and then across the room I saw my photo. And maybe, maybe this year may end up not only being about a weekly challenge but perhaps my take on life and what it means to live amongst each other on this planet.
Photography is about communication; sharing what we see with the viewer. But there are other forms of communication and perhaps only second to speech is the written word. Written language is comprised of letters from the alphabet, a form that in one respect is blossoming in the form of blogs but on the other end of the spectrum is slowly being pushed to the back through increased use of shorthand, if you may, in text and email. Instead of writing “I love you” we instead abbreviate it with “luv u”. Does it mean the same? How much effort does it take to let the one we love know that they are worth an extra 4 characters? Or that our gratitude is worth typing “thank you” instead of just “thx”.
When put together in a sentence, and then a paragraph, letters can express our heart, our fears, our hopes. I guess that’s why instead of just answering this photo challenge with a single photo each week, I’ve chosen to string a bunch of letters together as well, so that I can communicate with you in a way that maybe, to some, my photo on it’s own would not. To me, you – the reader, the viewer – are worth it.
Week Two: Weight(less)
Interesting idea here…the challenge is to show the defiance of, or submission to, gravity in a photo. Being 51 years of age, my first thought was of the obvious signs of gravity on my body but figured that is a photo we can all do without seeing. I then anchored my ideas to my current location much more civilly being in Barbados and all this week. I really wanted to capture a photo of waves on a moonlit night but as the moon won’t be full til later this month and I won’t be in Barbados at that point, I had to find other examples of weight(less). It was a fun challenge and though again I have several to choose from, I truly want to limit myself to just this one because this photo also tells a story and I want to tell his story, Pierre’s story. Sometimes weight can be a heavy, emotional burden, at times too heavy to carry alone I realized as I sat with Pierre for a bit one morning and I listened to his story, at times tears falling down his cheeks. I am not foolish enough to believe that spending a morning with someone solves the cares of this world, but I do I hope that our time together, listening to and sharing each others stories, lessened his weight for just a little moment in time.
Week One: Circle
Not as easy to find as rectangles for sure but it was fun trying to find circles in my daily life. Having said that, I’m here at my desk multiple times a day and I’m right now, just this minute, staring at a very simple circle that has been staring at me all week as if to say “Hey! I’m a circle and I’m right here in front of you!” It’s a blank CD. Okay, so sometimes I miss the obvious but it was fun, when cleaning out an old box that had been stored in the attic, I found an old Bingo game of my mom’s. She told me that she used to play it as a child with her nana, sitting outside under the shade of a tree.
It’s only Tuesday so I’ll have to wait a few more days to find out what is in store for week two! See you then 🙂
I am about to embark on a provocative adventure of uncertainty and discipline. It will be a huge challenge to the essence of who I am right now as a person and a photographer. Being uncertain of what is coming up is not a comfortable spot for me nor is being disciplined to do any thing on a weekly basis.
I guess that seems a bit contradictory – maybe that’s because I am a Gemini. I don’t like not knowing but I do little to ensure that there are no surprises. I’m flexible in my day to day routine, rolling with the punches so to speak, and I enjoy the challenge of making the unplanned events fit into the day, succeeding at the end. But not knowing what is around the bend in my life scares me – so sometimes I over plan the possible response to what may be coming at me. Or I wait….hoping that my future will show itself to me. Thing is, I don’t know nor will I ever know what my future will bring and that’s okay…I think it’s why if I had to pick either trait to embrace, it would have to be embracing an unknown future. Discipline has its merits for sure, and this project will teach me the very thing that my photography needs if it is to succeed, but embracing a future, even if it’s just week to week, is bound to bring me places I’ve never been before in my life. Embracing the unknown will teach me to fly.