Photographing Your Way Around The Sun

May 23, 2017

This year marked my 30th trip around our sun. (Well, 31st, technically, because we apparently count zero as an age.) I’ve always been fairly centered and although I’ve aspired to be more mindful — internally and externally — by using diaries, meditation, reflection, etc., I am a much better at avoiding reflection than engaging in it. Last year, during my 29th solar-revolution, I vowed to write more and generally succeeded, but ultimately the results were mediocre. Resolutions like this have never been of much importance to me, as I tend to simply dive head first into projects that interest me at the time. A resolution is a chore, and project is a creative outlet, in my opinion.

This year will be different. In the interest of concocting solutions that cater to my weaknesses, I’ve come up with a few ideas that are not only more achievable short-term, but will allow me to build sustainable habits in the long term. I’m a collector, through and through. I collect skills, I collect stories, I collect art. I’m basically a hoarder with the ability to channel my compulsion into things that won’t end in death by Time-magazine-mountain-collapse.

I bought myself a film camera for my birthday. It may sound pretty basic… but hear me out! I’ve always been lukewarm on the idea and I appreciate moving pictures a bit more than still images, but the more I thought, about it the better the idea became. For starters, it’s a craft — and I love learning new crafts. I get bored after I’ve mastered the basics, but for now it’s incredibly satisfying to that part of my brain. Secondly, I generally loathe the instant gratification and validation of social media. What I do with this camera is for me alone and it takes weeks to see the results of your efforts. This means every image is deliberate and candid but simultaneously non-invasive. Lastly — and this was the tipping point for me — I had an idea to use the photos as a sort of diary. I wanted to head into this decade of my life with a more mindful approach to my days. I’m going to be writing my thoughts, feelings, reflections on the backs of the photos before I hang them (or hide them).

Over the years, or decades, I’ll be able to pull these photos out of my hoarder-vault and reflect on my emotional and intellectual state at the time they were taken. I’m excited to have these private reflective moments and I’m also excited to gift these photos years later to the people who have stuck around in my life — and those who may have left my personal orbit.