Some moments are vastly more meaningful than others.

I'm deep in an interesting book, The Power of Moments, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

As a photographer, I'm familiar with the concept of defining moments. But what are these moments made of, and how  do we create more of them?

In the book, defining moments are described as having at least one of four common elements.

ELEVATION: Defining moments rise above the everyday. They provoke not just transient happiness, like laughing at a friend's joke, but memorable delight.
INSIGHT: Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world. In a few seconds or minutes, we realize something that might influence our lives for decades.
PRIDE: Defining moments capture us at our best – moments of achievement, moments of courage.
CONNECTION: Defining moments are social:  weddings, graduations, baptisms, vacations, work triumphs, bar and bat mitzvahs, speeches, sporting events. These moments are strengthened because we share them with others.

In photography, particularly in writing and posting my work in this public space, I place myself in a situation that exposes me to the risk of failure. This action, which stretches me, leads to insight. Self-understanding comes slowly, and it's a lifelong process. Writing and photography are two of the ways that I learn who I am, what I want, and what I am capable of.

Standing in the Goodwill parking lot late this evening, I realized how deeply I need to make these pictures. It was a defining moment – a reckoning of what it means to me to take pictures that solidify my roots.