What is This Picture?

That's the name of my newsletter. Think of someone you deeply care about. Do you have a favorite picture of them? I’m sure you do. Do they have a favorite picture of you? I’m certain they do too. 

I love to find out what those photos are, and why they are special to you. This Picture is a newsletter dedicated to the relationship between photography and the human experience. Your human experience.

What is this picture?

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This is a picture of me. Next to my foot is a flashlight, which I am using to illuminate the disco-ball hanging next to my head. My favorite stuffed animal, Max, watches me from the steps. Our tape measure was in the toolbox behind Max. I used it to measure the amount of rope I would need to hang the disco ball from the loft upstairs. There’s a lot going on here, and I’m sure my parents weren’t thrilled at the mess I’d made. Still, you can learn a lot about me from this picture.

I discovered this picture during a time when my life was undergoing gigantic changes. I recently graduated from college, and my family was moving out of the house I grew up in. Between my departure from the place we called home, and my emergence into what many call “the real world”, I found myself unable to identify with where I was.

 

Call it an existential crisis if you like.

Of course, this series of events is not that unique. I know I’m not the first person to graduate and be unsure of their future. I’m aware that people move away from home all the time. If I was to pitch this as a screenplay, the producers would file this story in the folder named, “Maybe a Commercial About Renting a Truck”.

 

But this experience was still mine, and mine alone. I was reminded of that when I found this picture as we were packing up the house. All the messy details, Max, the toolbox, the disco ball, served as reminders of what really matters in this life:

People, places, and things have an emotional gravitation. As time goes on, we accumulate these satellites in the orbit of our lives. Some stay briefly. Others, with more substance and meaning, interlock with us for years at a time - maybe even changing our trajectory. Photos give us a chance to see this force in action. They allow us to see the constellation of people, places, and things that make someone’s life their own.

I’m excited that you have decided to explore these pictures with me. If you would like to share a photo that matters to you, please do so through the link below. The link to join the mailing list is below that.

Keep collecting satellites.

-NS