Photo Voice: Collections

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Opening my digital photograph collection I had a tiny oh-my-gosh-what-a-great-idea! moment. It got me back to writing here. Borrowing an idea from the social-anthropologist in the family (hi, sweet man), I’m eager to craft entries for my own Photo Voice Series.

We’re a visual culture — note Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr, etc. Photo Voice is a way to amplify visual culture. And it’s simple: 1) Take pictures. 2) Then add thoughts or tell a story prompted by the image you captured. Here’s one way to do it.

Collections

Have you noticed how things cluster, gather, stack up, collect? I swept my kitchen floor and found a convention of dust bunnies behind the painted clock stand. In my garden, rocks from beach walks and long mountain rambles form small cairns. And our garage harbors a shocking variety of stuff that has no place in the house. Don’t even begin that conversation with Ken (hi again, honey). Oh, and my computer! The photos alone create stunning digital clutter — er, collections. What we once had in shoe boxes now resides on our devices. Progress, right? Okay, enough introduction. Here’s my take on Photo Voice!


Accidental Collection

collections: kitchen cupboard, accidental (sort of)

collections: accidental (sort of)

Since his mom died in January, Ken and I have begun sifting, organizing, and cleaning at the house where he grew. It is an important part of our grieving process. Taking pictures to chronicle this housework/griefwork is one way I transform difficulty into manageable life and material for art. The top half of this photo looks like the work of Dutch masters. You know, classic painters. Notice how the image recedes into total darkness. This kitchen cupboard held an electric iron, paper napkins, ant traps, batteries and much more. Kind of like our garage in miniature. We leave this house inspired to bring more order to our own.


Cupboard Contents 

collection: kitchen cupboard contents (random)

collection: kitchen cupboard contents (random)

The first cupboard I emptied and cleaned held this treasure trove: fire extinguisher, waffle iron, never-opened bottles of Mexican beer, California wine, and champaign, a garden hose nozzle, hand mixer, utility knife, bottle of brain food, gardening gloves and various tools. There’s a great band name or inspiration for a suspense novel here!


Surfboard Parking

collections: surfboard parking (intentional order)

collections: surfboard parking (intentional order)

After working in the house, we spend time outside. Walking along the beach is my favorite thing: it clears my head of the dust and sadness that permeate the house. I love wave sounds, sea breeze, dramatic skies, and the comfort of that steady horizon.


Wild Poppies

collections: wild poppies

collections: wild poppies (nature)

Order in the wild. Clustered on the cliff above the beach I love the camaraderie of these poppies as they tilt their trusting faces open to the sky. Makes me think of the line “…they neither toil nor spin, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like these.” The fence is there to keep me from the cliff’s edge, but it cannot keep me from falling for the giddy, fleeting joy of these beauties.


So, there you are. Photo Voice: Collections. Surprising things happens when we look at the pictures we take and write about them. The mind makes its own connections, in its own time. For example, I didn’t see that resemblance to Dutch paintings until the second edit of this entry.

Try Photo Voice

If you’re curious, a bit stuck on the creative front, or ready to have your own ah-ha moment, here’s what to do.

  1. Look at your pictures. Those you have OR those you take today, this week. Make it super easy — I use my phone.
  2. Choose one: your favorite, or the most evocative, or that curiously surprising one.
  3. Print it out and paste it in a notebook. Or put it in a fresh google document. Or create a digital album.
  4. Write 3-4 sentences (or more!) about it: the story it makes you think of (or think up), or why you love or hate or wonder about it, what it means to you, the metaphor it holds.
  5. Share it. Use Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook (share with all your friends or just one), or keep it in your notebook to share with your future self.

If you’d like to share it with me, yay! Just use my contact page and send me a link or your message.

One thing I know is true: We are made to create. When I create life feels more balanced, more manageable, and more like a gift. Try Photo Voice. Tell me what it does for your creative heart.  


Know someone who desires more extraordinary in the midst of ordinary? Share this post! Thank you 🙂

 

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