Why take another photo?

I’ve been carrying a camera around since I was ten, recording events from my “magic carpet” as I tour this life. I started with a Brownie Instamatic camera, a gift from Mom and Dad, and now I use various digital Whats-its.

Sometimes I’d wonder, “Why do I take pictures?” I mean, aren’t there enough photos in the world already? Well yes, according to the New York Times article, Photos, Photos Everywhere, “The growth in the number of photos taken each year is exponential: It has nearly tripled since 2010 and is projected to grow to 1.3 trillion by 2017.” You can thank smartphones because “Seventy five percent of all photos are now taken with some kind of phone.”

berries, hiking, Kodiak, Alaska, island, fall, autumn, colors, iPhone, photography, Marion, Owen

I was hiking with a friend on a splendid September day on Kodiak Island. I turned to say something to her and spotted these bright orange bearberry leaves; and then the clouds shuffling across the blue sky, and so on. “Wait!” I said. I whipped out my iPhone…

Still, after 50 years (okay, do the math), I love making images. When everything comes together I want to shout, “Yes, that’s IT!” and I’m filled with a special connectedness and joy. 

This why-take-another-picture question held court on the back of my mind for years. Then I recently came across a passage by Paramahansa Yogananda which inspired me to mindfully reach beyond the physical activity of tripping the shutter.

Any time you become fascinated by some material creation, close your eyes, look within, and contemplate its Source.
—Paramahansa Yogananda

Brother LawrenceTo ‘look within and contemplate its Source’ is something we should do at all times. It’s called ‘practicing the presence.’ All true spiritual disciplines say that to improve our lot, we must think of Him (Her, Divine Friend, Spirit, Allah, whatever works for you). Such devotion does not take away from enjoying life, rather it enhances it. “There is no sweeter manner of living in the world than continuous communion with God,” said Brother Lawrence, a monk who lived in the 1600s.

I’m no saint. I struggle mightily with restlessness and distractions when I sit to meditate. But what continues to drive me onward is knowing that the only difference between me and a saint is that saints don’t give up.

My question for you is: What are you thinking about as you quilt, cook, run, paint, garden, golf, hike, program computers, walk your dog, dance, dine with a friend, backpack, study the stars…?

And does the world need another photograph?

Just askin’…

The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I posses god in as great tranquilly as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament. — Brother Lawrence

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12 Responses to Why take another photo?

  1. info@dianathompson.com says:

    Hi Marion,thanks for this little bit extra of your special insights.  I appreciate your introducing me to Brother Lawrence and your thoughts on being present no matter what the task or moment.all the best,Diana

    • marionowen says:

      It’s a sweet little book, Diana. His letters are such treasures. His devotion, even as he picks up a straw from the floor, is a shining example of what we are capable of doing in our own lives. Love to you!

  2. Candy Falatko says:

    Thank you for mentioning Brother Lawrence and for your photos and posts, Marion. Keeps Kodiak fresh in my memory.

  3. Alice says:

    The photo with the orange bearberry leaves is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Sharon says:

    I’m on this same page with you, Marion. Brownie camera when I was a kid, restlessness throughout my life. It’s my iPad that captures the photos I want these days. It’s mostly in my garden, even when doing the smallest chores, where I find inner peace, that spiritual connection.

    • marionowen says:

      Hi Sharon… sorry for the delay. We were out of town for a while, traveling in national parks in the West. Yup, I agree about the smallest chores. My garden now is pretty much put up for the winter; pickles and sauerkraut put up. Thanks for touching bases. Lots of love to you, Marion

  5. Terry says:

    Thank-you for reminding me that I have a choice to invite creation into my life daily.

  6. Melissa says:

    M. Have not heard from you in a while. What are you guys on planning for Thanksgiving? I’m going traditional N.E. this year and have big plans to have leftovers for sandwiches ;-). I know sounds boring but in previous years I’ve done SW and deep Southern. My favorite appetizer is celery stuffed with cream cheese and chopped stuffed olives. What is your family favorite? M.

    • marionowen says:

      Hi Melissa, we just returned from a month vacation — much needed after a busy, BUSY summer. Lots of changes, which I’ll write about soon. As far as food goes, for health reasons we’ve adopted a plant-based diet. Watch the documentary, “Forks Over Knives.” So, the long and short of it: No dairy, meat, or oils. Yes to grains, nuts, fruits, veggies and so on. Whew. I’m having to revamp my kitchen and pantry but really enjoying the journey.

  7. Melissa says:

    Marion, Glad to hear you are taking good care of yourself! I find East Indian and Italian cooking have some of the best meatless dishes. I don’t eat much meat but do love my cheese. Eat a lot of nuts; love walnuts and cashews. I’m not a big soy “substitute” food fan and am interested in hearing your take on that when you do get to updating us all on your new way of eating. Remember the best part of Thanksgiving are the side dishes – have a great day! M.

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