whatever the reason

I’m piggybacking on a thoughtful post from ViewFinders where each photographer culled their images to choose one photograph, from all those taken in 2018, that held special significance.

“After you look through these images, we hope you’ll take some time to look through the photographs you created in 2018. We hope you’ll understand the importance of each image created by you, each image unique in the way that you frame and choose settings, in the way you process, in the way you make the initial decision to press the shutter. Have fun culling your photos (don’t forget to save them securely and print some out!). And we wish you more happy shooting in the coming year.”

I took this challenge to heart and set about skimming through my pictures for this year. Seeing the year as one long string of photographs is an exercise in gratitude. My ordinary life is extraordinarily beautiful, and this perspective made choosing a single photograph both difficult - because art is everywhere - and easy - because art is for every one. What I am saying is that significance lies in the interpretation of the photo, and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to understand every photograph in order to appreciate it. Sometimes I simply feel a pull, a deep resonance, with a picture.

In my recent correspondence with Naomi Ernest about how to make and love our art, she reminded me of a simple truth.

I read this quote by Matisse recently, “Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out.” I just love this— granting ourselves permission to just be. Just letting the work happen.

And so I chose this photograph as my one.

The reason is only partially clear even to me. But I am certain of one thing - my choice is about sincerity, not originality.

We visited Ells Blueberry Farm twice this summer. On both trips I felt an abiding sense of home. This is what it’s like to live in the rural South. We start off in our suburban neighborhood but within an hour we are in Madison County, Virginia, driving along rolling hills, pulling over here and there for small adventures. We stop to talk to the farmer. We pick till our buckets are overflowing. We pay on the honor system. We return home to make blueberry topping for vanilla ice cream. We remember the sweetness of summer. It’s all so familiar. Comforting.