It makes me sad that we know very little about those that have passed away some time ago when technology wasn't as readily available and we didn't have the fortune of having a camera with us at every moment of the day. Maybe ancestry websites can tell you bits and pieces such as date of birth, date of death, cause of death, marriage details etc, but these tell us very little about who a person was. How he smiled at his loved ones, the singing club she was part of that she loved so much, the thick-rimmed glasses that all his friends and family knew him for, the fact that after a glass of wine she always wanted to dance... all these little details is what we love people for.
We are in a new era! Generations after us will know so much more about us. There will be so many photographs and videos and Facebook status updates (*cringe*) that they can hopefully access. I often ponder on this idea and feel such a strong desire to give them incredible images. I'm not talking about a million mediocre, mindless iPhone snaps... but REAL, EMOTIVE, BEAUTIFUL images that reflect the stuff that matters like how madly we loved one another, the laughs we shared together, the way we grew up and learned.
Because this is so important to me (and hopefully you too), I'm starting a series on my blog to give you the knowledge and inspiration to document and capture your life in a thoughtful way. It's almost like you're writing you'll be recording your autobiography as it actually happens. My series will focus on a diverse range of topics from how to organise your photos to overcoming self-consciousness. Today's topic is:
Finding the beauty in everyday
I think most people will be thinking: "I have nothing to photograph on a day-to-day basis, nothing out of the ordinary happens".
Nobody's life is unicorns, glitter and adventure 24/7. Even the glamorous personalities you see on Instagram still do all the 'normal' activities you may see as nothing special. However there is magic in the mundane, and stories to tell in the repetitive tasks - you just have to look a little closer.
How to exercise your beauty-seeking muscle
- Select a part of your day that you usually just gloss over - it could be getting dinner ready, or your daily walk in the park, the first half an hour on a Sunday morning, or getting the kids ready for bed. Approach this moment with the purpose of finding the beauty in it. Look for the little moments and how you feel about them (and they don't always have to be happy to be beautiful).
- Be observant of facial expressions and the movements of your/their body - particularly reactions to what is going on.
- Observe how the light looks - is it harsh, or soft, or a glow from a lamp. What colour is it? How does the light make you/your loved ones look?
- What sounds do you hear - laughing, birds singing, the kettle boiling, how does your loved ones voice sound?
- Express gratitude - think about what makes you grateful in this moment, maybe its the fresh air, seeing your child's joy, the peaceful morning light. There will always be something to be grateful for - even if you're staring at a pig-sty of a house - you can be grateful for all the living that created the mess, the joy it has brought you, the fortune of owning so many wonderful things!
The way I express gratitude is by taking a photo of it. I look at the whole scene, but consider what is it I want to highlight or express in my photo. Is it their hair, or the details of their hand, the emotion, or are you telling a story by taking a few steps back and showing an entire scene.
Seeing the beauty in the everyday is a bit of optimism and a bit of mindfulness. You need to be in a positive frame of mind and be living in the moment. No matter how 'boring' the moment may be - see the beauty and capture it! A great way to practice this is by participating an a 52 week or 365 (daily) photo project - you can either just take a photo each day/week, or find a prompt list that you can follow.
Happy beauty seeking!