I’ve been invited to participate in various challenges over the years. A 365 where you take and post one picture every day of the year. A 52-week “workshop” where you are given a prompt for the week and you post as you wish. 365. 52. Both of those numbers are very large and intimidating.
But 7. I figured I could do 7. I admit that I got to day 6 and forgot and had to do 2 pictures on the final day.
The challenge was one black and white photo every day. No explanation. Seven Days. Nominate another person to play along.
I limited myself to cellphone pictures edited with Snapseed. It was a good challenge. I nominated a different person each day. Most of them picked up the challenge and are posting their own black and white photos.
You may recognize the title of this post as a phrase echoed throughout the Game of Thrones story.
I recently binge-watched Game of Thrones from beginning to end. I found the characters fascinating. There is not much happiness or joy in the story. In fact there is much vengeance, violence, and torture.
When I mentioned to my very wise daughter how I felt almost ashamed over how enthusiastically I looked forward to each installment, she said something that put my mind at ease.
She said, “It’s a safe way to explore your dark side.”
Prompt: Nancy suggests light and shadow as a theme, and Robert adds: “It’s only at high noon on a mid-summer day — or it’s only on a completely overcast day or moonless night with no electric lights — that we don’t encounter shadow. Shadow always follows us. In terms of our inner worlds, thinkers like Carl Jung remind us that shadow contains the seeds of resurgent life. Can we produce some pictures that illustrate the vital place of outer or inner shadow?”
It was a cloudy day in western New York for the first day of this prompt. So instead of a walk-about, I did a stroll through my Flickr photos using the search term “shadow.” This one is from October 2015.
Part of my spiritual practice is the editing. I spent rather a long time with this photo. A lot of spot removal (I still see a couple more I could work on), a bit of levels work, some vignetting. Here’s the original.
Prompt: Canyonflower observes that these days are filled with difficult news and increasing evidence of climate change. She writes, “How about a project that could be called ‘Antidotes’? Photos that people use as their own personal response to the news and the toxic atmosphere that seems to be so pervasive at this time.”
I snapped this photo the day before the prompt was published. Still, I find it fitting.
I wish I loved gardening as much as I love gardens. This is a neighbor’s.
On the threshold of Labor Day, here is a quote to inspire your photographs and to make into a poster:
“In that tiny space between all the givens is freedom.”
— Sue Bender
Even as I made this poster, I wasn’t sure what this quote meant to me. But as I reflected on it, I came to realize that the tiny spaces of freedom in my life are those times I carve out for myself to recharge: walks, elderberry hunting, making and editing photos, crafting a pie… These are the moments when I feel free.
Prompt: This week we’re following Paula’s topic suggestion: distance. She writes, “It isn’t just that long shot of a road or from the top of a mountain, but what distance has been traveled personally, spiritually, mentally.”
This prompt has rattled around in my head all week. Images presented themselves, but nothing felt right. Then on Saturday, I snapped this photo of my nephew and his new bride. And dozens of “distance” themes flooded my brain.
The distance the two of them have traveled from Middle School to Marriage.
The distance traveled by loved ones to be a part of the day.
And introspectively, the distance I have traveled from maiden to wife to divorced to married again to mother to aunt.
To grandmother or great aunt? Not yet. Perhaps one day.
I signed up for a contemplative photography practice group. The prompt for week one was this:
“Go to a school or town library … a bookstore … thrift store book shelf … storage locker … room at home … or any place that holds books. Walk and wander. Look beyond what you think you know. Sit and listen. Trust that you will come upon a surprise … something unexpected to photograph and share with the group.”
I created two images based on this prompt.
This first one is a portion of a shelf in “my” room after a major purge. I called it “The Stuff I Saved.” Why should it be any surprise that the stuff I saved relates to photography and mindfulness. Of course it does.
The second one – from our local bookstore. It caught me off guard and caused a rather genuine belly laugh. I don’t laugh enough.
This blog is…
a place for me to post creative experiments, reflections about the creative process, and notes about things I'm learning.
The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. - Dorothea Lange
The original self is a seed of wondrous possibility and reeks with pleasure. - Thomas Moore, from the preface of his book Original Self