How will you remember this time?
I’ve been cataloguing my life in photos since before Orla was born and somehow, they seem to hold memories better than words. Each scroll of my camera roll is like uncorking bottles from the past: the strong black tea I drank with a tiny baby Orla asleep on my chest; the boots I wore that first winter it snowed in the hills; the scent of the brown-paper wrapped peonies I bought the first time I got paid for my blog.
What strikes me most about these photographs is the sense of life carrying on. It’s not the big flashy moments that tie me back to my story but the small incidentals: the cup I knew the shape of so well, now broken and forgotten. The well-worn cover of a daily journal that was eventually filled up and shelved.
At some point in the not-too distant future we’ll be looking back on these days. They’ll be the stories we tell to the next generations.
And, just as I’m encouraging Orla to make a scrapbook of this once-in-a-lifetime unusual experience, I want to invite you to use this week’s challenge to record the seemingly insignificant details of a time when the big things seem bigger than ever before.
Ground yourself in the little things. Take time to create a picture of what calm looks and tastes like to you, in the midst of it all.
This week I’m challenging you to spend 15 minutes creating your own interpretation of the image above.
Use my scene as a template but make it fully your own. Can you retain the composition while telling a story that’s unique to you?
Choose a book, magazine, or a journal that has significance to you right now. Perhaps it’s a story you’ve shared with your children, or a novel you ploughed through in a single locked-down day.
Gather your additional props and accessories. Mine are intentionally in only two colours: white and the dark forest green of my notebook and (poorly made) matcha. Experiment with restricting your colour scheme similarly, if you like – but make sure you’re choosing objects that have daily significance to you right now.
Set the table. Whenever we’re styling it’s worth paying attention to our lines and angles – notice how my journal, the primary focus for my image, is directly lined up to be parallel with the table edge. The handle of the cup, the angle of the pencil and the stem of the flower all point in the same direction, bringing a gentle sense of rhythm and order to an otherwise messy domestic scene. The glimpse of the chair on a similar diagonal angle gives you a little more context – here is a table where I was sitting, but just stepped away.
Climb up and snap! For this photo I was literally standing on my table – but be careful, and don’t take any unnecessary risks. The higher you can get above your scene the more impact you’ll create, letting the viewer see the scene through your eyes.
Run your finished shot through your favourite editing software and then share! Tag me @me_and_orla and #15MinuteMagic on Instagram. As always, I’m sharing my faves throughout the week on my Stories and here on my blog.
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Missed the previous challenges?
Click here to see them all. You can do them any time!