May is world photo month...
The age old saying tells us that a picture is worth a thousand words and looking back at some of the amazing photos taken over the almost 200 years that photography has been known to man, it sometimes seems that a picture could tell many more.
Some photographs highlight the world’s history. Some show the horrors of war and how it hurts the most vulnerable. Some photographs hope to inspire and some are just plain beautiful and uplifting and celebrate the everyday moments of life. Since it was invented, photography has given us the incredible opportunity to capture a moment in time and keep it alive forever. And if that’s not worth celebrating, what is?
The History of Photo Month
Did you know that thousands of years ahead of technology, the Greek philosopher Aristotle was already contemplating what would much later be called the “pinhole camera”. The earliest surviving photo of nature was taken in 1827 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce. At that time, it took days of exposure for a photo to be ready. Today, 189 years later, we can see just how far photography has come. Photo Month was created to help us celebrate the invention of this incredible means of communication with previous and future generations, so let’s not let this day go to waste and make some memories!
Celebrating Photo Month
Photography is essentially about the play of light and dark, illumination and shadow, much as the spiritual journey is a practice of paying attention to these elements of our lives and how the holy is revealed in each. Photography is also about the choices we make in the visual framing of elements, what to include and what to exclude, whether to zoom or pull back. This is a practice of visual discernment: a way of choosing what is important and what needs to be let go of. Photography is a deeply contemplative practice. If we approach it with reverence and intention, it can help us to see life all around us.
Here are some practices for you to use this month:
Photo Month would be best celebrated by digging up old photos we haven’t seen in years and marvelling at the times gone by and all of the incredible experiences we had. Find a photo that draws you and consider the following kinds of questions to help enrichen the memories:
Who is in the photo? What do you remember about them?
What do you remember about the event?
How old were you? Where were you?
Do you have other memories attached to the people?
What surroundings are revealed in the photo? Perhaps it’s a familiar home…what other memories do you have here? Perhaps its somewhere else - a holiday place…do you have other stories to tell from the same place? Perhaps it’s in a garden…what games did you used to play here?
Notice through your lens
Make May the month you sign up to do an online photographic course or join a photography club! Perhaps it simply means being more intentional about taking more photos. Whether you use an old school film camera, a digital or a cellphone camera, take notice of the small things around you, the ordinary and the extraordinary.
Here is a wonderful idea for a camera meditation!
Take a moment to appreciate the world around you through the lens of someone else. This month you may like to follow the work of a photographer on Social Media or visit a photo exhibition. Perhaps buy a photographic magazine or two. What do you see? What do you notice in the photographs of others? Express your appreciation with likes, comments and shares!
Use photographs as a way of being grateful at the end of each day. Collect photos, pictures from magazines and google and use them as gratitude prompts in your journal!
Photo Month is a time to appreciate all the things photography has done for humanity and continue that glorious tradition, so get out your camera and your photo albums and get celebrating! We would love to see your photographs and hear the stories behind them. Please post them to our Facebook page and tag us on Instagram using the hashtag #i4ccphotomonth
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