Monday, April 11, 2011

Traveling at Home

After several months of my daily photo project, I've been trying to reflect on how the project might have changed me.  Part of the answer came from a very unexpected place, as do the best things in life, I suppose.

My job at the co-op entails organizing classes about topics of interest to our crunchy community and one that I recently helped organize and attended was led by a superbly inspiring dude, Darshan Karwat, who spent the last year attempting to create ZERO waste.  That meant no trash, no recyclables, no buying anything new.  (See the details of his project and some of the great reflections throughout on his blog, Minimizing Entropy.)  Not only was I super inspired by his dedication and thoughtfulness throughout the practice, but his new exploration of Traveling at Home has helped me realize what it is that my photos have been trying to do.

Part of the challenge of producing a new photo each day is to find something "photo worthy."  Each time I set out to take my photo for the day, I have to take time to become aware of my surroundings in a photographic way.  If I lose this for a couple of days (like I have the last two days, but we're not going to talk about that right now) I really do get out of the habit of looking photographically and have to get it back again.  But when I do get centered in this way, things start to reveal themselves around me.  I see things that I'd never taken notice of before: a new angle on scene I look at every day, a new alley or building I'd never noticed before, light and shadows making patterns, or items juxtaposed in intriguing ways.  Even before this project, these are the kinds of photos I found myself making without really knowing why.  Here are few from years ago that exemplify this idea:

Berkeley, CA  July 16, 2007 
San Francisco, CA.  July 17, 2007
The King
Phoenix, AZ.  January 11, 2008

Living in different places across the country has taught me that there is beauty to be found literally everywhere.  Colorado is a beautiful place, but growing up there made me take it for granted.  It wasn't until I moved away that I realized how special it is.

After living in Phoenix for four years, I felt that if I could find beauty and happiness there, then surely I could find it anywhere.  Now, I miss the quality of light in Arizona, the desert plants and sharp shadows, the expansive feeling of the west.
March 22, 2008.  Phoenix, AZ. 
March 8, 2008.  Tempe, AZ.
Desert Dwelling
December 31, 2010.  Tempe, AZ.
But, of course there's beauty to be had in Michigan even (or in my opinion, especially) in the abandoned buildings, lush farms, and simple towns, and the photos I've taken since moving here have only helped that feeling of appreciation grow.

Audio Visual
July 16 (oddly enough!), 2010.  Chelsea, MI.

July 16, 2010.  Chelsea, MI.

July 4th, 2010.  Manchester, MI
Fall Sunrise
September 29, 2010. Chelsea, MI. 

Taking photos has helped me explore the unique qualities of each place I've lived and been.  The daily photo project has brought this even closer to home, forcing me to find these same nuances on the much smaller scale of my daily life.  

Maybe traveling at home is really just about living with intense awareness. 

Daily Photo 3.3.11
March 3rd, 2011. Ann Arbor, MI.
Daily Photo 4.6.11
April 6th, 2011. Ann Arbor, MI.

Daily Photo 2.27.11
February 27, 2011. Ann Arbor, MI.


  1. I love all of these pictures. You are such a badass.

  2. Hello talent! You are incredible! I still have the photos you took / printed for me a few years back hanging in my apartment... envious roomies galore.

  3. Thanks, ladies! Love you both!