Recently, you may have seen a challenge that began to pop up all over Facebook. It included the following simple instructions for those who accepted:
Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation.
Challenge someone new each day.
As much as I enjoyed some of the pictures being posted, I had no intention at all of participating for several reasons.
One, I am not a photographer. I did not even know I could use a filter to change a picture to black and white on my phone. The pictures I do take are average at best.
Two, I see things in terms of words or the music I love. I share my thoughts, stories, and ideas through writing, and when words fail me, music speaks for me. So, to share parts of my life using only pictures without words seemed like a daunting task.
Third, in a world of filters, Photoshop, and carefully crafted photo opportunities, I felt woefully inadequate. Looking at the pictures others chose to display, I could not imagine that any picture I would take would be on the same level or have much interest to others. My little dog and pony show is not made for an Instagram world, as it has no filters.
Armed with these three valid reasons, I relegated myself to the sidelines and silently continued to enjoy the photos that dotted my newsfeed. Then, I was challenged, and my dread set in immediately. While this is a harmless challenge that does not obligate anyone to participate, I could not say no.
My beautiful friend, Mary, is someone I would do anything for, even accept a challenge that intimidated me. She has an amazing eye, and her photos are incredible. This added to my fear of not being worthy of this particular challenge, but because Mary put forth the challenge, I accepted.
As I thought about this challenge, I remembered a coffee table book that my parents had when I was a young girl. Its title was something like One Day in the Life of America. I thumbed through that book countless times, taking in images of Americans across the country who were engaged in ordinary daily activities. Making breakfast. Getting ready for school. Working. Sleeping.
It was both unremarkable and fascinating, and I loved it. When I embarked on this seven day challenge, I made a promise to myself to share authentic images, not staged shots or only the highlights, that represent snippets of my life accurately. I also decided that when the challenge ended, I would share the rest of the story for each picture. I followed the rules of no explanation, but now, I shall have the last word.
The picture I chose for Day One was taken at night in my bedroom. There is a nook that I transformed into a cozy spot to read and relax. That chair is so comfortable to curl up in to read and think, and it makes me feel safe and secure. The leaf print that adorns the chair is a happy reminder of, and homage to, Autumn, my favorite season.
I always have loved to read and already have had the pleasure of reading a number of books and magazines while drinking plenty of hot green tea in this special space. Reading provides me with a break from all that is happening around me and in my mind. Some of the books that have spent time with me in my chair have been Option B by Sheryl Sandburg and Adam Grant; When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi; and Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. I look forward to new literary companions joining me over a cup of tea.
This was Day One, and there’s more to come. . .
Categories: Picture This