Thankfulness Photo Challenge ~ 4.5
At the beginning of the month I started this personal challenge as a way to focus on the positive things I have going on in my life. When I started the list it was difficult to compile a list of 30 things but as the month continued I found it was easier to recognize the things I was to be thankful for. I really didn't think I would be to complete this challenge as I have attempted to do similar challenges in the past but this time I allowed myself the chance to take a break if I needed one. The thing is, I actually found myself looking forward to taking the photos everyday. Even on those days when I was complete worn out or having a rough day completing the Thankfulness Photos helped me stay focused on the positive and ride through the struggles. And even on the one day that I ended up skipping it I didn't allow myself to give up or berate myself as I have done in the past. I accepted that we all have bad days and gave myself a much needed break and then picked it back up the next day and completed the Challenge.
With a little over a week left I sat down and plotted out the rest of the month, in part because I found it easier to have an "assignment" for the each day that I was going to focus on. It gave me a little bit of structure which helped alleviate some of the stress. I had already planned to focus Wednesday on "Self Expression," but the original intent was to showcase the lighter more pleasant emotions. But that morning I got some distressing news, then lost my mom's car keys, got into a stupid argument with someone I care deeply for and each instance only compounded the one before and I had a minor melt down that morning as well. It was a bad day. I really rotten, miserable, all around horrible day and when it came time to do the "Self Expression" photos it helped me process a lot of the thoughts and feeling I had flying around in my head. Which is one of the many reasons I'm thankful that a few years ago I discovered that I could use the camera to express the thoughts and feelings I struggled to find the words for:
I have done a variety of personal photo projects over the years. Most of them are open ended and I continue to add to them, while others were more specific and were completed in a single shoot. Last night I decided to wrap up my latest project by showcasing some of the others I've done. Have to admit it was kind of a trip taking photos of prints from previous projects and seeing the results. My first photo shoot was for a gallery showing. The theme for the show was "Abandoned" and I wanted to think outside of the box and instead of simply taking photos of an abandoned building somewhere I decided to instead focus the shoot on the people often abandoned by society. This was the time I used photography as a way to tell a story and the images turned out better than I ever expected. A few years later the same kid who was primarily featured in the Abandoned shoot (and phenomenal local actor Teddy Gathmann) helped me with my first true photo essay "Breaking Point."
From there I started to reach out and find new ways to tell stories through photography and now I have been able to take that a step further and use photography as a backdrop for public speaking as well. I've learned a lot through these various projects and they've also helped me spread the word that recovery is real and I am the evidence:
And this wraps up the 30 Day Thankfulness Photo Challenge for 2017. It has been a great experience and one I'm thankful I did.