I love photography and when I have human subjects, I almost never tire of the challenge of getting good photos—those that show their personality, their energy, their connections. Even the most reticent preschooler or “my wife is making me do this”-dad is a challenge that I want to take on!
What was I thinking when, on January 1, I made a commitment to a 365-day-photo-challenge? At first there were fun things like snow and freezing weather with bubble experiments to photograph. But then came the rain and the gloom of February. No one is asking to have pictures taken on days that seem to promise more rain and, until this week, more chilly weather.
In spite of these would-be barriers, I have pushed through, and each day has brought something that I have found photo-worthy. But, as I looked at some of my favorite photographs from the past week (prior to our current spring-like weather), I had a sudden ah-ha moment. Many, if not all, of the subjects I photographed required some searching on my part, some intentional seeking of beauty. From a distance—from the vantage point of my sun room—they would not have been visible. I could have concluded that it’s winter, things are grey and gloomy, and I might as well give up on this 365-day-challenge.
When I left the sun room, camera around my neck and eyes wide open, I got closer to those mahonia shrubs and found their blossoms were home to bees and ladybugs. With my macro lens I was able to see details that I had not observed before.
Yes the yard was generally dead and without color. But, on closer inspection, I found tiny buds and tiny hyacinths, a few brave daffodils, and amazing seed pods. When we get close enough and when we have a great enough desire, it is possible to find intricate, colorful, and unique objects of beauty hidden among the dreary gloom of everyday life.
And that was my “ah-ha!” moment. What if I were as intent on finding beauty in people? What if I were as willing to invest my time and my knowledge and to get close enough to discover that an other-wise ordinary person is not so ordinary after all? What a beautiful world it would be!