In a world focused on grabbing our attention, where our time is merely a commodity, our eyes often quickly glance over, or are diverted, from what is of value: that which happens in our physical rather than our digital lives.
In 2016 a friend challenged me to take a daily photograph of something I was grateful for. Only a few days earlier a chance encounter with a professional photographer had made me the humble recipient of a camera.
Any of us can snap away on whatever device we choose, subsequently sharing these images with whomever wants to view them. Some claim that snapshots are not photographs, but are semantics alone enough to draw a dividing line, and is this segregation something we should aim for?
I did take my friend up on the challenge, succeeding to find something even on the bleakest of days. As the year progressed, and my collection amassed, clear topics started to emerge. Amongst them the little things that made a difference to me: my dog, getting outside, a note left to me. They were second only to time spent with family and friends.
Cartier-Bresson famously said “To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart” and perhaps that is still where the power of photography lies; in its contribution as a tool. An instrument where the focus has shifted from the end result, and away from the device, to the value of the process. For the maker it is a way of illustrating, or challenging, their personal narrative. To aid in sense-making, and providing a sense of place in a rapidly-paced and changing world.
That what we as individuals treasure isn’t necessarily insta-worthy: not all shots taken over the course of a year were in focus, some were grainy due to low light conditions, but they all mean something to me and to me the process of this project was more valuable than the outcome.