December 31, 2015

Gratitude






December 31, 2015 {365/365} 

Today, I complete my third consecutive Project 365: 
Three years, one thousand ninty-five images 
(plus companion photos and numerous unpublished attempts). 

At the end, there is a sigh of relief and an anxious anticipation of what's next. Each year, I wonder if I should continue with a photo every single day. What about a Project 52? Should my photos continue to be random images that inspire or intrigue me each day? Should I participate in an organized Photo-a-day challenge? Should I create my own challenge like last year? Should I continue find inspiration in literature and write reflections to enhance the meaning of my photos or should I let the images speak for themselves?

As I searched for inspiration today, I watched Louie Schwartzberg's TED Talk Nature, Beauty, Gratitude. His beautiful words and images are the perfect reminder of why I began my project:
  • Nature's beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude. It opens our hearts, and makes us realize we are a part of nature and we're not separate from it. When we see ourselves in nature, it also connects us to every one of us, because it's clear that it's all connected in one.
  • When people see images, a lot of times they'll say, "Oh my God." Have you ever wondered what that meant? The "oh" means it caught your attention, makes you present, makes you mindful. The "my" means it connects with something deep inside your soul. It creates a gateway for your inner voice to rise up and be heard. And "God"? God is that personal journey we all want to be on, to be inspired, to feel like we're connected to a universe that celebrates life.
  • You think this is just another day in your life? It's not just another day. It's the one day that is given to you today. It's given to you. It's a gift. It's the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
  • And so I wish you that you will open your heart to all these blessings, and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you, and then it will really be a good day. 


So,  I've decided to keep going -- to continue to be present each day and to capture what inspires me without restrictions. I will be mindful of my purpose for starting my Project 365 three years ago and will try not to impose restrictions that may interfere with creativity and gratitude for the gift of each new day. Cheers to 2016.

December in Pictures

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." ~ Seneca
December 30, 2015

Art Appreciation

December 30, 2015 {364/365}
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to 
remain an artist once we grow up." ~ Pablo Picasso

Today, I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum with these guys.
My own love of this amazing place has been duly documented,
but it's so cool to see the art through their eyes. 
Alec took lots of photos -- just like Auntie.
This piece is one of his favorites.
Here's his own interpretation/recreation.
December 29, 2015

Snow Angels

December 29, 2015 {363/365}

"When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels." 
~ A Farmers' Almanac Philosofact
December 28, 2015

Winter

  December 28, 2015 {362/365}

"Winter is a season of recovery and preparation." ~ Paul Theroux
(Today was the perfect day for both!)

December 27, 2015

Fuzzy

December 27, 2015 {361/365}

"There is nothing worse than a sharp image 
of a fuzzy concept." ~ Ansel Adams

[It's clear that I'll continue with a photography project next year, but with only 4 days to go until the end of 2015, my concept is still fuzzy.]

December 26, 2015

C'est normal.

December 26, 2015 {360/365}

 "In a perfect world, everyone would have a glass 
of Champagne every evening.” – Willie Gluckstern
(even out of plastic cups)
December 25, 2015

Piper's 1st Christmas

December 25, 2015 {359/365}
One Piper Piping!




December 24, 2015

Gloria

December 24, 2015 {358/365}
December 23, 2015

We can do this!

December 23, 2015 {357/365}

(even if it's 55º and raining and we're still in school the day before Christmas Eve)
December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice

December 22, 2015 {336/365}
 "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." 
~ Chinese proverb, Confucius, Eleanor Roosevelt?
(Who really said that?)

Today is the shortest, darkest day of the year, 
so light a candle and enjoy the coziness. 
It only gets better from here!
December 21, 2015

Street Art

December 21, 2015 {355/365}
"One fish, two fish, three fish, more fish!" (adapted from Dr. Seuss)

Last spring while walking in the Third Ward, I noticed three little fish painted on the sidewalk. As with everything that catches my eye, I snapped a picture (below). Yet since it didn't seem worthy of my photo of the day, I had almost forgotten about those fish until yesterday. On our way to brunch at Trocadero on the Lower East Side, I spotted them again (above). Apparently they're all over town. A little research revealed that artis, Jeremy Novy, has also painted them in Honolulu, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, New York, New Haven, and Northern California. Have you spotted any? Novy paints the fish where "artists or free-thinkers or people who think differently gather...They cause people to see beauty and color." In Chinese mythology, koi change into dragons when they reached the top of the Yangtze River. Their images symbolize perseverance, courage, independence, individualism, and ambition.  Novy's art is meant to bring messages of harmony, equality, love, friendship, diversity, and peace. 

(Read more about these lovely discoveries here.)
December 20, 2015

Hello

December 20, 2015 {354/365}
"You had me at hello."
December 19, 2015

Roses

December 19, 2015 {353/365)

"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."
~ James M. Barrie (Well, memory and florists ;)
December 18, 2015

Subtle

December 19, 2015 {352/365]

"Nature's far too subtle to repeat herself." ~ Paul Muni
Amid the bright lights and decorations of the season, 
take time to notice the unique and understated.
December 17, 2015

Une bonne journée

December 17, 2015 {351/365}

"Develop a passion for learning and
you will never cease to grow." ~ Anthony J. D'Angelo

Today, I had the pleasure of presenting a mini French lesson to the Pewaukee High School Humanities class. These students have autism, Down Syndrome, dyslexia, and other severe learning challenges, yet they were reading and speaking French in less than thirty minutes. I was so inspired by their enthusiasm, their encouragement of each other, and their genuine delight in their own accomplishments. Today, I was proud to be a teacher.
December 16, 2015

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!

December 16, 2015 {350/365}

Despite the beautiful decorations and Christmas carols everywhere, I'm finding it harder to get into the holiday spirit this year. How can this be December in Wisconsin? Our first significant snowfall just before Thanksgiving covered everything with a lovely blanket of white and I began dreaming of a White Christmas. But lately, it has been raining for days. I know I should be grateful that I don't have to scrape windows, shovel driveways, or navigate icy roads, and I count my blessings that our new home is on high ground. It's probably unrealistic, yet just imagine the winter wonderland if the temperatures were about 15º cooler. They say an inch of rain would produce ten inches of snow. Do you think it would help if we all sang Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!?
December 15, 2015

Snail Mail

December 15, 2015 {349/365}
"To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere 
without moving anything but your heart." ~ Phyllis Theroux

Most of the year,  I visit the mailbox about one a week. Bills and unsolicited ads don't motivate me. Yet at Christmas time, I look forward to getting the mail everyday. I love the holiday greetings and newsy letters that help me feel connected to friends and family near and far.
December 14, 2015

Collection

December 14, 2015 {348/365} Baby Brownie

"Collect things you love, that are authentic to you
and your home becomes a story. " ~ Erin Flett, designer

Meet my "Baby" -- a 1934 Baby Brownie camera. Made of fragile bakelite and originally costing only $1, this tiny camera, designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, was very popular with World War II military personnel. I wonder if my dad had one. I almost overlooked this tiny treasure while searching for a piece of furniture last month. (I did find a great piece, by the way -- a card catalogue from the late 1910's/early 1920's. More on that to come...)

I've never been a saver. As a literature major, I certainly have a selection of books, but would you call it a collection? Never one for knick-knacks or tchotchkes (or any clutter for that matter), I don't even buy t-shirts or postcards while on vacation. I prefer natural souvenirs like shells, sea glass, or heart-shaped rocks, and of course, my own photographs, although I've only printed one. Yet, suddenly, I seem to have a collection of vintage cameras. Earlier this year, there were two. Is two a collection?

First there was this Zeiss Ikon Nettar, circa 1934 (also known as Bob 510). I did express an interest in vintage cameras while strolling through an antique shop with friends last fall. I like the idea of beautiful artistic pieces that create more beautiful artistic pieces. Eric bought this pre-war, German camera for me last Christmas. I especially like the bellows and that tiny red accent!  

Two months later, I received this Kodak Brownie Target Six-16 as a birthday gift. Produced between 1946 and 1951, its clean, linear design reflects the emerging mid-century modern aesthetic. Now with the addition of my Baby Brownie, I have three vintage cameras -- an official collection.  So what's next?

Maybe a Beau Brownie, circa 1930-1933: Walter Dorwin Teague's deco design and colors are stunning. Given the choice, I don't know which one I'd choose. (These are displayed in the Milwaukee Art Museum.)
Or this Kodak Bantam Special, circa 1936: I love the Art Deco design of the black, enamel, clamshell case! (This one is also on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum.) Peak inside:  It's a gadget worthy of James Bond!
December 13, 2015

Shoreline

December 13, 2015 {347/365}

"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more." ~ Lord Byron
December 12, 2015

'Tis the Season

December 12, 2015 {346/365} 
I sure doesn't look or feel like Christmas, but...

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. 
To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy,
 is to have the real spirit of Christmas." ~ Calvin Coolidge


December 11, 2015

Believe

December 11, 2015 {345/365}

"Believe in love. Believe in magic. Believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don't, who will?" ~ Jon Bon Jovi
December 10, 2015

Texture

December 10, 2015 {344/365}

"Texture is the most enduring and ubiquitous underpinning of form...a calming, meditative, and appealing world for both they eye and mind." ~ Lynda Lehmann