Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands.
— Faith Greenbowl*
I’ve said before that I don’t aim for variety in my 365, but rather that I want to find new ways to explore my everyday surroundings. Nowadays, that means lots of images of my favourite beverage – tea, as well as the occasional mug of coffee. With the different types of mugs and the different places I drink it, combined with all the processing options of my mobile camera apps, the possibility for variety is surprising.
* Anyone know who Faith Greenbowl is? I tried to google her name, but got only quotes about tea and an Amazon reviewer. Another example of a quote that’s too good not to share even if the source is in doubt.
If you listen to the critics, images like this are a sign of all that is wrong with the world, of our shallow and egocentric world view where everything revolves around developing ourselves and displaying how successfull we are (how we can afford expensive coffees and fancy food), while our children grow up lacking empathy because their parents fail to tear themselves away from Instagram and Facebook.
As usual in these cases, my response is to tell the critics to start seeing the world from more than one perspective.
Yes, I enjoy sitting down to drink a fancy coffee, and I photograph my coffee to remember a quiet moment in an otherwise stressfull word. Having gained a degree (= successfull) that brought me unemployment followed by a job only partially relevant to my education (= less than successfull), my life is hardly magazine-glossily perfect, and I have no wish to present it as such.
Yes, I have grown up hearing that I am clever and talented and that I can manage what I want if I work hard at it. This is a healthy attitude if it makes you do your best to achieve something, but it sets you up for potentially painful realisations when your course towards your goal is permanently barred by the brick wall that is real life sometimes. Believe me, I know.
So I guess what I am saying is, leave me to celebrate the beauty and peace in my life through my photographs, and don’t take for granted that this is the sum of what my life is like and how I want to present it.
I am not overly fond of housework. I love seeing the results, but getting there? Not so much. So I tend to procastinate. And frequently with a camera in hand.
This has resulted in a small housework photo series. There’s no unity to these images, and no intentional thought of making a series, but this selection at least works together as a whole – two black and white images and two polaroids.
In the near future there will be a more planned and intentional series on the same topic.
I haven’t done one of these in a few months, I realise. Not that there is much to display from February; it’s been a highly uninspired month, a sort of limbo month, trapped between winter and spring, between my current job and the start of writing applications for getting new jobs.
— I know I’ve said before that I’m fascinated by the in-between states. I stand by that, but that doesn’t mean that those states aren’t hard, and frustrating.
But I’m proud of my February images anyway. Because I persevered, stuck to my plan of one image a day in spite of my lack of inspiration. I am, perhaps, especially pleased with the two eye images from the end of the month, when I was down a heavy bout of flu, images it would probably never have occured to shoot if I had been well and inspired instead of feverish and sick.
I don’t know what scares me the more sometimes, the media or the people they report on.
Case in point: one of the Norwegian online newspapers, in a feature on Botox and how women are kept to unreasonable standards of beauty, is quoting a female model / tv celebrity as saying (my translation): “I do still have young and tight skin, but no one knows what the future will bring,” implying that she might consider Botox treatments when she grows older.
I hope this is a mis-quote, because seriously, I hope she knows that she will get wrinkles and lose skin when she gets older. The alternative, after all, is to die young and leave a beautiful corpse, as they say, and I assume that is not what she wants.
She is also quoted as saying that women frequently become less attractive at an earlier point in their lives than men do. If I am to be charitable, I’ll credit this more to the sickness of the society she’s living in than to the girl herself.
I sometimes see people on flickr who are complemented for the variety of their images. If a variety of subject matter is a goal to strive for, I am not meeting it. But then again, I am not sure I want to set myself such a goal.
My main aim is to pick up a camera each and every day of the year. In this way I make myself find the photo opportunities of everyday life, instead of waiting for the unusual to happen. And this is the crux: there isn’t all that much variety in my everyday life, at least not nowadays.
So instead of aiming for a variety of subject matter, I want to make myself look at the tings that surround me daily in constantly new ways. And this goal I think I’ve met quite well in November. The bunch of tulips I bought at the end of the first week of the month gave me three different images. The bunch of roses replacing the tulips another two. There is quite a lot of bokeh and night lights, seeing that it is dark when I go to work and almost dark when I head home.
And finally, there are muffins. No month is complete without muffins, either photographically or food-wise.
Looking at my one photo a day for October, it’s been a month of autumn leaves and sunlight, roses and polaroids, eating out and eating in, travelling, a bit of black and white.
Actually quite a good month, now that I think about it.