Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 14 - Optimism

The last picture of ‘what money can’t buy’ week represent that age old question: Is the glass half empty or half full? This question is commonly used as a litmus test to determine if someone is an optimist or a pessimist. It also recognizes that each situation can be seen differently depending one one’s perspective.

I think the world needs people who can think both ways. However, while I do consider myself a realist in some ways, I prefer the company of people whose attitude is one of optimism. I feel inspired by people willing to take risks, to put their neck on the line, to try something new, to learn, to feel passionate about new challenges. Even if they fail their attitude of ‘I can do anything I set my mind to’ energizes me. Personally I find chronic negativity draining. It is being held captive by fear. Life is too precious. So I try to be optimistic as much as possible and never judge someone for giving it their best effort.

So, my picture of the day is my attempt at capturing a glass that is half full. My favorite part? It was full of beer and so emptying it was quite enjoyable!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 13 - Imagination

When I was young I enjoyed reading. There was something satisfying about picturing characters in my mind - what they looked like, the scenery, the lives they lived. This active visualization is much different than the passive mental process used to watch TV. To this day I prefer reading a book over seeing a movie of the same story.

So yes, I had a very active imagination as a child. I was one of those kids who would be content lying on the grass watching clouds drift by, seeing all sorts of interesting shapes forming, dissolving and morphing into stories. Perhaps this love of imagination is why I became interested in photography as an adult. 'Seeing' stories in everyday moments and representing them through still images is quite rewarding for me. Many people look at the world, but very few see anything.

Walking home today I came across this piece of driftwood on someone's front lawn. Immediately I thought 'polar bear'. Or dog. Or is it just an interesting piece of wood? Personally polar bear works for me.

Only one day left of 'what money can't buy' week. Whew.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 12 - Love

Continuing my 'what money can't buy' theme for this week. Today is Love. It is a cold, rainy day today and I am not in the mood to venture outside. Going to stick to reading a good book. I grabbed a quick shot of a book with the pages folded into a heart.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 11 - Creative expression

I spent the day at the Multicultural festival today in Dartmouth. Ate fantastic food, the sun made an appearance for the afternoon and we watched some great dancers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 10 - Happiness

Yes, it's a cliche. Money cannot buy happiness. Or can it? Nothing generates such passionate response as the question: what would you do if you won a million dollars? Sure I would love to have a few extra bucks, but I think that no amount of money can make you genuinely happy. We've all heard of stories of lottery winners who wished they'd never won the big ticket. Their friends turned on them, they were harrassed day and night. How many rich celebrities are in rehab or seeing therapists because they are depressed? To me I am happy with enough money to live comfortably but "more money, more problems" seems so often the case. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I wouldn't like a little more cash. But I'm already happy with my life. I love my family, my friends, my job. But if you think that money will make everything great, and if you only had $1 million you'd be so much happier, I'm fairly sure that the feeling will be short lived.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 9 - Respect

Respect is the value I hold most dearly. It is the foundation of relationships and is critical to building trust with others. In certain ways, respect manifests itself as a kind of ethic, as in the concept of reciprocity - the 'Golden Rule." A person attempting to live by this rule treats all people, not just members of his or her in-group, with fairness, consideration and honesty. In that way respect is arguably the most essential basis for human rights, playing a huge role in resolving conflict and contributing to positive change.

I have observed that in defining what respect is, most modern cultures have moved way from the reciprocity principle and now think of respect as deference to power and authority. In our capitalist society, respect is granted to those with wealth and positional power. It doesn't take much to figure that out - think of the salesperson fawning over a well dressed person who walks into a store (remember that scene in Pretty Woman?). Or a gang shooting each other with guns to assert their power. The notion that people kill each other in the name of 'respect' is, in my mind, chilling.

This idea of equating respect with affluence is flagile. Take away the money and power and is the respect still there? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Many times the respect goes with it. This is because emotionally, respect has to be earned, not bought, and fundamentally as humans deep down we value goodness in others over the almighty dollar.

So this brings me to my picture. Over lunch I came across 'Jeff' panhandling for change on Spring Garden Road. I wanted to get his take on the topic of respect. Amongst our social classes I'd say panhandlers are amongst the least respected. After chatting with him for awhile his take on this was that overall, North Americans worship the rich and fear the poor. It's an ugly and sad truth. When it comes to people begging for change most people feel that when you give them money they will spend it on booze or drugs. Or that they should be spending their time finding a job and getting back on their feet instead of looking for a handout. Or that people bumming for money are young punks who don’t even need the money. Basically, they assume the worst about you and think they know what is best for you.

My take on why people don't respect the homeless is that they act as a mirror on the fragility of our 'false' sense of respect, the one that equates respect with wealth, or lack thereof. Many of us are a few paycheques away from being in their shoes, especially in this economy, and it is a painful reminder.

As I talked with Jeff I notice that he greeted everyone who walked by with a 'have a nice day.' Nearly every person ignored him, only one person even looked at him, and most people picked up their step just a little faster. He said this is what bothered him the most - people who do not even acknowledge his existence. How can one advance himself in life if they do not have the respect of others, or are given the chance to develop self-respect themselves. Perhaps the reason he greets everyone with 'have a nice day' is his version of extending an olive branch.

I should note that as thanks for allowing me to take his picture I offered a small token of monetary compensation. He refused the money when offered. "When it comes to talking about respect," he said with a glint in his eyes, "it is not about the money."

Wiser words could not have been said.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 8 - Immortality

This week I decided on the theme 'Things that Money Can't Buy.' Each day I will pick a different 'theme within the theme'. Today I tackled "Immortality". I find myself thinking about mortality more as I get older. Although our bodies and minds obviously do not last forever we live on through our legacies, families, art, literature, music and stories told by others.

I find it interesting at funerals to look around and see: a) how many people are there; and b) what are people saying about the person. It is always obvious to me at funerals that it is not material things that matter to the human soul. Our life possessions, acquisitions, all the 'stuff' that we work so hard to save up through our lives, these material things don't matter at all in the end. How we will be remembered depends on our actions, how we treat people, the number of people we touch and inspire, the degree to which we impact positively on others. These are the things that will matter in the end, not money.

To explore this theme I dropped into the Camphill cemetery. I wanted to pick an image that represented mortality and a gravestone seemed appropriate. It was a foggy morning on the way to work, and I got some interesting shots (see my entire set here). I landed on this particular image because I've never seen a gravestone that has a hole in the top.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 7 - Centaurea

Day 7, end of week long purple haze. Grabbed a quick shot of my neighbour's flower before heading out for sushi. Not sure what kind it is. My sister-in-law said it was a Centaurea so I'll go with that.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 6 - Purple flower swirl

Another wet day, which at least made for even lighting for flowers. Saw these on the way to work and grabbed a quick snap. Anyone know what they are called? Starting to get really tired of purple. I had a dream last night that my face turned purple after eating a grape Mr. Freezie. Thankfully only 1 day remains of purple madness & I'm done. I am looking forward to a new theme or just snapping some random shots.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 5 - Willy Wonka

Day 5 - Today it rained hard all day so I decided to dig into my purchases from Freak Lunchbox purchased yesterday. This is an assortment of candy I enjoyed when I was young. Fun Dip and Nerds were decadent favorites of mine - pure favored sugar delight on a rainy day. What was your favorite childhood candy?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 4 - Jelly Belly

Day 4: Continuing my purple theme this week I stopped into Freak Lunchbox on Barrington Street in Halifax, on the hunt for purple candy. These 'Island Punch' Jelly Belly jellybeans fit the bill. They also provided a lovely sugar high for the day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 3 - Lupins

Day 3. I seem to be drawn to purple this week, what is up with that? I really should break out of it. Hmm, perhaps I could try different themes each week. So I guess the theme this week is purple!

Day 2 - Kaleidoscope

Day 2. I started walking to work in the morning two weeks ago. I come across quite a few Irises. I liked this one because it was completely 'opened', which is not usual for Irises. I liked the yellow glow and pattern of its heart. Some friends on Facebook said this looked like a Kaleidoscope, so I thought this would be a good name for my 365 project.

Day 1 - The beginning

Day 1, my first image! This is a macro of an ornament located in my office window. I always admired the funky psychedelic colours created when the light shines through the glass. Since I look at this ornament nearly every day I figured it was symbolic of my project 365 beginning.