Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Photo Album

Nothing puts things in perspective faster than realizing it is the second week of December and yet again I haven't started on the family photo calendars. It wouldn't be so bad if it was just our family's calendar I had to make, I could milk that out for another week. But I also make one for my dad every year filled with photographs of barns, covered bridges and rural landscapes, my side of the family's Christmas party is Christmas Eve. So it was time to sit down at the computer and get it done.

Going back through the year in my Lightroom catalog tends to be a painful process for me. I am always a better photographer by the end of the year making me love everything I took October through December and hating disliking everything I took before that.

This year as I started at January 2016, I tried to keep an open mind and an open heart and look for the photographs that spoke to me each month. It was interesting to see the change in my work over the course of the year. January through March (the cold, snowy months) I spent a lot of time indoors working on still life projects.

April brought the arrival of a new furry monster grand puppy to the house. There is nothing more challenging or more rewarding than photographing a puppy.

May saw the weather finally warm up and a return to day long photographic adventures for me. 

June the Farmer's market was in full swing and our favorite stop every Wednesday and Saturday was Lemonjello's coffee stand and our visit with James, the man behind the airpots. Many meaningful conversations involved books, photography, jobs and job searches while pumping Six One Six or San Sebastian into our to-go cups.

In July my husband and I were able to get away for a couple of short vacations, one of them being northward.

August saw a return trip northward. My husband had business and I had freedom.

September signaled an end to the unbearably hot summer we had, finally I was able to explore the fields and meadows with my camera.

October brought heartbreak with the loss of my beloved Scout.

November found me committing to a 52 week photography project that is setting my creative world on fire.

And here we are December, the last month of 2016. The return of snow and cold couldn't deter me from spending a morning at the beach.

Each of these photographs is my personal favorite from each month, none of them made it into the family calendars. While each is different, they collectively tell the story of my year, my life, my journey.

Yesterday I finished my book club book a week ahead of schedule.  There is one book I have been meaning to read all year, but something else always distracted me, yesterday I couldn't stop thinking about that book, so I plucked it off of the huge pile of unread books on top of my bookcase and settled on the couch with it. On the last page of the introduction I read these two paragraphs...
"Ten years ago in my Harvard lectures, I tried to listen to a single day of my life in such a way. What I propose to do now is to try listening to my life as a whole, or at least to certain moments of the first half of my life thus far, for whatever of meaning, of holiness, of God, there may be in it to hear. My assumption is that the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.
For the reader, I suppose, it is like looking through someone else's photograph album. What holds you, if nothing else, is the possibility that somewhere among all those shots of people you never knew and places you never saw, you may come across something or someone you recognize. In fact -- far more curious things have happened -- even in a stranger's album, there is always the possibility that as the pages flip by, on one of them you may catch a glimpse of yourself. Even if both of those fail, there is still a third possibility which is perhaps the happiest of them all, and that is that once I have put away my album for good, you may in the privacy of the heart take out the album of your own life and search it for the people and places you have loved and learned from yourself, and those moments in the past -- many of them half forgotten -- through which you glimpsed, however dimly and fleetingly, the sacredness of your own journey."
I want this last part to be my mission.

The book is The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner.


  1. I'm wondering what I would find if I tried to choose my own photo album - whether I'd find a story in there. I love how your choices tell your own story - whether they made it into the family calendar or not. You likely have many different stories to tell.

  2. I am at a loss for words . . .
    as you have filled me up with sacredness . . .
    I found this a most beautiful piece . . .

    A gift it is to read Frederick Buechner . . . he has been my favorite for years . . .
    Happy you reached for The Sacred Journey . . .

    Blessed Christmas Sarah . . .

  3. The blog is beautifully personal this morning, and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your favorite images for the year. I feel more inclined to review an old photo album. I will do so with an added appreciation of memories kindled by the perhaps forgotten interactions, thanks to your thoughts on the subject. xo

  4. I continue to be inspired by your photography and now these words this morning. My heart is full of gratitude for being able to read and witness on these pages the story of your life.

  5. I'm so inspired and walk away with a feeling of sacredness. I am grateful for your presence. And thank you for mentioning the book, I'm going to check it out. Blessings.

  6. Thank you for letting us peak into a little part of your life journey. Always love your photos and writings.
    Donna Wagner

  7. Thank you for sharing parts of you, parts of your life and overall, parts of your artistic eye and journey with us....

  8. Hi Sarah, what a wonderful year in review. Enjoy your Christmas!

  9. Sarah, I really love that you shared your favorites of the year here. Not necessarily those that make the best "calendar pages," but those that touched your heart the most. I'm following your 52 Week Project, too and just love to see your work unfold. Like you, I was spurred on by the Seeing in Sixes book and hope to try something along these lines, too. Creativity is ultimately an act of listening, and we are listening to our hearts with these projects.

  10. Sarah-I love your way with words and photos-what a beautiful review. I know your family is going to adore your calendars.

  11. So lovely to look back on your year and illustrate it with your favourite photos of the year which tell a story all on their own.
    Wishing you and your family and wonderful Christmas and a great start to the New Year!

  12. You are gifted with word and image. Your favorites are spectacular as they are personal and share your story. I imaging those that made the ultimate cut are wonderful as well.

  13. What a wonderful way to look back on your year, Sarah, and I just want to say thank you for sharing your year here, and also for sharing the excerpt from the book. I really love that.
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a bright and beautiful New Year.

  14. Your photographs share your heart and tell your story. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas filled with laughter, love, and good food.....I look forward to seeing what you share with us in the new year....

  15. I've enjoyed looking back at your year through the photos that mean so much to you. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  16. I feel the same way looking back in my work. A calendar for the family is a great idea. I never get my images off the computer for myself. I only print for the gallery so that is a crying shame. I really must start printing for myself!

  17. I love your mission, reading your blog and seeing your images does help me reflect on the 'sacredness of my own journey'. :) I haven't finished my photo calendars yet either, it is getting late for me... Merry Christmas!!

  18. The pictures are evidence of a great year of growth and reflection.

  19. Great post Sarah. And I'm going to check out that book further. Not that I don't have a big enough stack of my own to read, ha! I believe I'll be linking up with you in the new year, sure hope to anyway. That project sounds great.

  20. Although these photos may have not made their way into the calendars, I can only image just how beautiful the calendars turned out with you other images of the year.


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)