There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting with friends and catching up over coffee and something sweet. It once seemed my friends and I had too much time to sit and chat, now these moments are rare treats. We have scattered all over the country, and stay connected through social media (those who chose to participate). For us, like so many now, sharing pics on social media platforms has become the norm to get a sense of what is happening in each other's lives. And because we have known each other so long, when I see a picture of a friend appearing to engage in behavior that is out-of-character, I pause to understand the context of the photo. Considering the context can change what you see in a photo.
I love taking pictures, for me, photography has become a way to engage with new people and places, while sharing the world, as I see it, with others. And despite the unfortunate tone of the country, over several years, the character of the people I see, continues to amaze me. Since my last post, I have witnessed people bravely work to provide for their family, although they were uncertain if a raid could take them away from all they love. I have seen people stop to give to the unhoused, when they had little of their own to give. I have been in the presence of kindness, when a senior neighbor needed a hand, and patience, from a hurried youth, who paused and walked beside the senior, lending their arm instead.
I discuss the character of everyday people because the photos assembled for our viewing give us a warped narrative of each other. We must keep in mind, to balance the news we consume with our own developed knowledge of people, and the context which they live. To be clear, I am not suggesting anybody ignore injustices to our fellow human beings, but I can feel the toxicity of a daily onslaught of negativity. I only encourage us to pause, when we can, and take a picture of something or someone we consider brave, selfless and kind. We need to summon these images of ourselves, just as much, as we need to soberly evaluate and strategize against the things that threaten us.
So take the suggested pic, grab your favorite beverage, then sit and share with friends whether in person or online; lift each other up. People rise naturally if they aren't pushed and pulled down. I have the honor of watching insecurities transform into comfortable confidence with each flash of my camera, as the person in front of me realizes I carry no judgement, only hoping to reveal their character, who they truly are--beautiful.
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