Friday, February 28, 2014

Exploring My World Through Photography

I was always the one with the camera. I have yearly photo albums documenting junior year of high school through law school graduation. My dorm room walls were covered with photos I'd carefully affixed with Scotch tape. My friends stopped bringing their cameras, because they knew I'd always have mine.

Until fairly recently, my sole interest in photography was documentary, as if I'd appointed myself group historian. Photography was not a creative outlet but a means of remembering an event. I didn't know how to compose a photo, I just snapped party pics.

That was fine while it lasted, and I'm glad that I did it. But in the last few years, I've become more interested in photography as a creative outlet. I still like to document our important family moments, but I'm more interested in capturing the everyday. I still cherish the poorly lit photos of my kids, but I want to create beautiful or interesting images as well.

Photography has made me look at the world differently. Even when I'm rushing a kid to swim practice, I still notice the color of the sky and the way the shadows fall across the lawn. While I always think my children are beautiful, I now notice the gorgeous way a soft light catches in their eyes. I see beauty in crumbling buildings and broken neon signs.

Photography has made me explore places I wouldn't have gone in weather conditions I would have avoided. A couple weeks ago, I stomped around the local beach in a snowstorm and loved the results. Last week, I explored the local cemetery in a heavy mist at dusk.

Cemetery in Mist and Snow - Flotsam of the Mind

The kids were at piano lessons, so I had an hour to kill. If I don't have local errands to run, I usually read a book in my car or, when it's frigid, at the local library. The mist weighing on the whole town was too great to resist, so I put aside my book and went exploring instead--at the cemetery.

Cemetery in Mist and Snow - Flotsam of the Mind

As I had hoped, the combination of snow on the ground and mist in the air made for some interesting results. With no leaves or grass and only the gray of headstones, some of the color images could be mistaken for black and white.

Cemetery in Mist and Snow - Flotsam of the Mind

There is a beautiful world out there if we only stop to look--even in inclement weather.


  1. These are gorgeous. My grandparents owned a cemetery and lived in the middle of it. I spent many of my weekends there, and my sister lived with them when she attended college. My next book is going to be a YA novel, set in a cemetery. Perhaps you can be my official photographer?

    1. What a fascinating experience. I am drawn to older cemeteries. There is something beautiful to me about the less-than-perfectly-carved stones even when--perhaps especially--when they have begun to list.

      And yes, please!

  2. So cemeteries really creep me out. That said, these photographs are beautiful.

  3. Susie: Great pics. In college I did alot of partying in cementeries at BG. No one to bother you--ha, ha, ha. I was the camera person. I always had a camera to record the event. In fact, I just went through all my pics. (25 albums plus a box of them) I went through them all and distibuted them to the people I thought would enjoy them and pitched the rest. Alot of photographic memories have been dumped but those memories are forever in my mind. If I didn't go through them now the people behind me wouldn't know what to do with them and they still would end up in a dumpster. I saved someone the time and along the way I got an afternoon during this long winter to look back 30 or more years of alot of good memories and remember them all!

  4. I can totally relate to this! I find myself evolving in the same ways. It's such an interesting and captivating journey.

  5. Whenever we are in a new place (be it a state or a country), my husband and I always check out a local cemetery if we can. They do make for some amazing pictures. All of your pics are beautiful, especially the one of the statue.