I’ve noticed that lately, my picture-taking has been sparse, even though there’s a camera (a great camera) in my smartphone, even though images make me happy.
Part of the problem is that I feel like I can’t live up to the stream of pretty, put-together pictures on sites like Instagram. (Why does it even matter? I’m not sure.)
But I’m going to change that.
Today, I was reading this interview on Artifact Uprising about photographer Katherine Heise, who’s been taking photos of her kids every day since 2013. Her photos are no doubt beautiful. Poignant. Breathtaking. But while I’m no photographer, I know there’s a magic in taking photos for every one of us.
What I love about picture-taking is that in doing so, we notice.
If we’re taking a photo of an object or our natural surroundings, we’re paying attention. We’re listening. We’re absorbing an object’s lines, a park’s multicolored leaves.
If we’re taking a photo of ourselves, we’re seeing ourselves. Really seeing. We’re listening, too. We’re acknowledging.
I see you. You matter.
Inspired by Katherine’s daily project, I’ve come up with this idea: Take a photo every day that is you. Your feet. Your favorite mug. A sunset you can’t stop staring at. A quote you can’t stop thinking about.
In other words, these photos will capture who you are, in objects, landscapes, words, colors, your body.
There’s no hashtag for this project. There are no rules or prompts.
This is just you. For you. Of course, feel free to share your snaps, and I might, as well. Feel free to use filters. Or not. (I did above.)
I guess the only rule is really just a guideline: To take a photo a day for a year, starting tonight or tomorrow.
You can create a plan, listing your favorite things that are totally you. You can take photos spontaneously. You can do both. I took the above photo today, which focuses on the chains I never take off: a necklace, which was a birthday gift from my grandma; and the chain my dad used to wear every day.
Here’s my short list of other things I might capture:
- my wedding band
- my journals. I have so many. Some are finished. Some have too many blank pages.
- a stack of favorite books
- my hands, which are miniature versions of my father’s
- the sunlight streaming into my office in the late afternoon
- a bright pink “T” for my last name, which stands on one of my bookcases
- color pencils
- my face on a sunny day
- my feet (my foundation)
Another option is to use each photo to spark a journaling session. Write about what it’s like to take a photo of yourself. Write about that sunset, or that quote. Write about the mug, which was given to you by someone special.
What excites me about doing something like this is pausing for a few moments and capturing the details. This may be the only moment in our day that we slow down. This may be the only moment that we absorb the details. The details of our lives. The details of ourselves.