Monday Musings: 40 Photos

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IMG_5555Half way there.  I’m at day 20 today.  So via our church’s Pinterest board I found this Lenten photo a day challenge.  Except for Day 1, every day of Lent you are given a single word.  Sometimes it’s a verb, sometimes a noun.  Sometimes there’s an obvious image that comes to mind, sometimes I have to ponder the word almost all day.

So far, I’ve been successful on a daily basis.  The list I’m working from, was published by the United Methodist Church…Rethink Church.  I’ve been looking at their Facebook page and Pinterest boards for inspiration and just to see what others are coming up with.  It’s a wide range of results spanning from pictures found on the internet to very obvious go-to images to very cool photographs or interpretations of the words.

Daily I post my selected photo to my Facebook page with typically a simple comment that includes the day count and the word of the day.  I’m also posting the photos to our online gallery, a companion to this blog; and I pin it to Pinterest and the Rethink Church Facebook page.  The gallery post often has a (little) bit more explanation of how the photo relates to the word…but not always.

Normally, I don’t do the “give up something for Lent” thing.  I suspect many people give up things that aren’t a very big challenge for them to give up, or like New Year’s resolutions they give up on the challenge.  If they do manage to give something up for at least most of the 40 days, how much reflecting are they doing on their sacrifice?  Now doing something positive has much more appeal to me and I know others who have gone that route.

My initial reaction to seeing this challenge was “Great, just what our overflowing iPhoto library needs…more pictures.”  But as of today, I only have 47 photos in this event, Lent 2013…I’m being good and thinning.  I must admit, the days that I don’t figure out what my subject should be until after dinner…those are challenging.  See, unlike people who are using pictures they find on the internet, I’m taking all of mine on that day.  And if I can help it, I will not just go to the obvious image.  I did that once with Day 9 – love = our kids.

The most difficult one to take was Day 1 – Who am I?  Do you know how hard it is to take a nice picture of yourself?  It’s not easy.  I trashed a lot before I got one I was happy with.  I did notice though that the more pictures I took, the better they looked…because the more pictures I took, the sillier I felt and thus I guess I relaxed and looked more natural.  Sometimes, the idea I want to capture comes right away, but the challenge is how to execute the idea.

For example…Day 4 – injustice.  I read our paper’s education page daily.  Our school district is ranked as one of the best is the country.  Compared to other students, ours have it pretty good in many respects.  But that is hardly true of our neighboring district which is typical of an inner city school system.  Even so, not all is equal within our district either.  Our students have decent buildings, though some are up there in age, they have desks, places to store their personal belongings, books (sometimes 2 sets), etc.  Yet, even our district has students who come to school hungry, are dependent on supplies drives, don’t have support at home, etc.  How was I going to show that?  An expensive calculator and a broken pencil was the best I could come up with.

I’m also trying to convey the word of the day in such a way that it speaks to multiple levels…I have no idea if that’s working.  Day 15 – hear, probably does that the best.  It’s a photo of a shell taken with a macro lens.  You know how you can hear the ocean if you put a conch type shell up to your ear?  Well, do you hear the voice of nature?  Do you hear the beauty all around you?  Do you hear the voice of God? Or maybe Day 19 – thirst…an empty glass, wine.  Or maybe it goes deeper…wine…blood…Jesus’ blood poured out for us…”this cup is the new covenant in my blood…”.

I’ll admit some are a bit abstract…ok very abstract.  The ball of yarn for Day 6 – world…and for sure the balloon for Day 17 – prophet.  The ball of yarn I explained in a previous post.  Prophet…I took a picture of a balloon because an idea hit me while reading the inspirational post of the day on Rethink Church’s Facebook page and then I couldn’t shake it.  And I’m still leaving it at that.

As fun as it is to take photographs…and usually it’s pretty easy too…this has been a challenge.  What does each word mean?  What is the idea behind each word?  How does it relate to God, Jesus, faith, church, religion, my life, etc?  I do look ahead, but I don’t take my pictures ahead of time…though I’ve been tempted to do that or go fishing through the thousands we have in iPhoto.  For one, it would take out the pleasure of the challenge…and we’re losing track of who took which picture so some I can’t be sure anymore if they are mine.

So tomorrow starts the second half of Lent…20 pictures, 20 ideas to convey, 20 more challenges to complete the bigger challenge…the bigger picture.  Hope you enjoy this journey.


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