Tag Archives: April

Enormous Smallness: April’s Photo a Day Challenge

Photography reminds me to appreciate moments, to slow down and notice light and shadow, a fleeting smile, the graceful curve of a limb and the reflection in a mirrored wall.  Another blogging photographer I admire, Joy of Joyfully Green, just today said, (photography) “…literally lets me stop time for a split second.”

There is something enormous about capturing the smallness of moments–making time stand still–so we can look more closely, study the details, and savor what is often unnoticed.  Paul Strand (among others) did that with his photography.  A friend of mine recently gifted me with some Paul Strand photo postcards from the recent exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art…and I am inspired by the simplicity and grandeur of the everyday moments he captured.

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And I borrowed the title of this post from the title of a picture book I ordered today about the life of ee cummings–a poet who captured enormous smallness through his poetry.  It seems fitting to celebrate the special qualities that photography and poetry share during April…typically a month that celebrates poetry (at least in schools).

Just this afternoon I was mesmerized by the buds on the orchid plant that nearly didn’t survive some time outdoors during our recent kitchen remodel…and the afternoon sunlight highlighted the enormous smallness of these emerging blossom.

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And this tree that grows near my driveway often appears in photos when the sky catches my eye…like this sunrise a week or so ago.

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Sometimes the enormous smallness is found in places where I share experiences–and food–with friends and family.  And the people who accidentally appear in them serve to enhance that quality, like this photo of the Shake Shack in Washington DC…

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or this from the inside looking out from Milk and Honey in Baltimore.  (I like the way the words are reversed since I was photographing from the inside rather than the outside.)

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Sometimes it’s in the grandeur of the mirrored high-rise that I notice the reflection of the neighborhood…

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or the durability of historic architecture that reminds me that there is much to be learned by reading the world rather than solely depending on books.

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Then there is the interplay of past, present, and future in our nation’s capitol–the place where government resides, but doesn’t live.  Our laws and values are enacted in our neighborhoods and cities, but there is something about buildings like the capitol building that remind us that what is national is also local.

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And in my local community where this historic movie theatre still hosts first run films, a place where people gather in the shadows of those who settled this area before the streets and infrastructure that we take for granted existed, we see that our lives interact with those who came before and will influence those who come after us.

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So April’s photo-a-day challenge is to seek out enormous smallness, the beauty in the everyday, the complexity in simplicity, making meaning of seeming chaos.  If you need them, here are some prompts to get your started:

1. April Fools

2.  history

3.  place

4.  outdoors

5.  new

6.  family

7.  work

8.  poetry

9.  laughter

10.  inside

11.  misery

12.  in front of

13.  behind

14.  tears

15.  life

16.  tired

17.  energetic

18.  writing

19.  fear

20.  house

21.  wheels

22.  doors

23.  nature

24.  advocate

25.  old

26.  near

27.  eyes

28.  food

29.  small

30.  enormous

So for April, find the poetry in the everyday…be on the lookout for enormous smallness. Pick a single photo to post each day or create a gallery of your efforts. Post a photo or gallery each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you would like to expand your exploration, write the poem or the story of the photo, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, or make a video or slideshow. You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can post your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it–or make up your own prompt for the day or the week! You get to make your own rules as you seek out your own enormous smallness. Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!

Appreciate those moments…and be on the lookout for instances of enormous smallness in your life.  I can’t wait to see what you capture through your lens!

Wise Words Inspire: April’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

It seems like a chicken and egg dilemma: does the picture inspire the words or do the words inspire the picture? I’m never quite sure. I often go out and take photos of things that catch my eye and later go back and figure out how to make it work for the photo prompt of the day. On other days a single photo will bring a flood of words, and then sometimes with a word or words as prompt, my eye is tuned to find photo opportunities I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

With spring in the air (even though we in southern CA haven’t had much of a winter), I find myself looking for signs of the seasons: buds emerging, flowers blossoming, baby animals, warm breezes, rejuvenating rainfall, and all the poetry they evoke. My friend Janis was inspired to find some quotes for us to use as prompts for our April #sdawpphotovoices photo-a-day challenge.

So for April, let each prompt inspire a week of photos. Take the quote literally or figuratively. Take some photos and examine them with the quote in mind to find the intersections and connections or read and ponder the quote and then head out to find the images that the quotation evokes. You get to decide if your photo matches the prompt!

After you shoot, post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twiiter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts. If you are game for some extra action, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, try a learning walk, or write some poetry or even a song! (More about learning walks here and here) You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

Week 1: April 1-6

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. —Henry David Thoreau

orange bud

Week 2: April 7-13
I had always planned to make a large painting of the early spring, when the first leaves are at the bottom of the trees, and they seem to float in space in a wonderful way. But the arrival of spring can’t be done in one picture. —David Hockney

orange flowers

Week 3: April 14-20
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. —Albert Einstein

purple fist bud

Week 4: April 21-27
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. —Rainer Maria Rilke
and/or
Earth laughs in flowers.—Ralph Waldo Emerson

flowers red and pink

Week 5: April 28-30
What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? —E. M. Forster

sun on water

Let these wise words inspire your photographic art in April! Have fun, be creative, explore the limits of your photography…April is the perfect time for new beginnings. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!