From Kate’s Writing Crate…
A few years ago I watched a documentary about a photographer in his early 60s who decided he needed to shake up his life. He had spent years traveling all over the world taking photographs for magazines, but one year, starting on January 1st, he gave himself a new assignment. He was staying close to home and taking only one photograph a day.
He lived with his wife in a cabin somewhere in the snowy MidWest. Every day he would set out on a walk with his camera knowing he could only take one photograph. Not one scene that he could frame and reframe, but just one shot—good or bad.
He would look around on his walk noticing trees, birds, prairie grass, brooks and ponds, deer, and once a wolf. He could see interesting and gorgeous scenes everywhere, but knew he could only shoot one. He had to pay attention so he didn’t miss a shot, but he also had to consider that there might be a better one on the other side of a hill, in the woods, or by the water.
Once he took his photograph, he walked back home still looking for shots even though he couldn’t take them. Sometimes he saw scenes that might have made better photographs and sometime he didn’t.
Since this was a documentary, a camera crew was following his every move so viewers got to see the scenes he didn’t shoot as well as the ones he did. All his choices and the consequences were captured on film.
I thought he was courageous to limit himself to one shot a day when photography is his livelihood as well as his passion. He had to work harder to find the shot of the day knowing all along if he waited he might find a better shot or not—a gamble every day.
I’ve decided to follow his lead.
I just came across a journal entitled One Thought a Day: A Five Year Memory Journal. My choices will be a bit easier as I can reflect at the end of the day which memory to record, but I will also be paying attention to moments during the day so I have lots of choices to consider.
It all comes down to paying attention to life—to what’s happening right now—savoring it even as another moment starts. Then reflecting on these moments to choose which one I appreciate the most.
Or should I be as daring as the photographer and choose during the day knowing a more memorable moment might be missed?
Well it won’t be missed because I’ll be looking for these moments. It just won’t make it into the journal—so maybe I’ll have two: one fearlessly choosing a moment in the moment and one at the end of the day. It will be interesting to see how often they are the same moment. Also, having a record of two memorable moments each day will make for a great year.
Happy New Year!