An Exploration


I have written ad nauseam about my love of shadows as my photo subject of choice. And the fact that this obsession leaves me at the mercy of the sun. And what this will mean as I search for inspiration on those days when sunshine and shadows are scarce.

Having been sun-inspired and shadow-drunk, what will be the next subject that will cross my path, reach in and tug at my heart? What will come knocking at the door and carry me away? What do I do when my subject of choice is no longer available?

I am a maker of lists. There is nothing sweeter in the world than crossing a completed item off my to-do list. I like tasks and assignments. I like knowing the next step in the plan, where to go next, having a map for the journey ahead. On a sunny day, when shadows abound, the images come easy. I know who I am as a photographer – I am Shadow Girl, seeker of contrast, of the entanglement of light and shade.

It should come as no surprise that I am not comfortable with uncertainty. With the not knowing. With stepping out the door with no plan of action. When the sky is the soft milky gray of a well-worn Tshirt and the light is diffuse and shadows are non-existent. When I can no longer count on the interplay of light and shade to be my muse.

No matter how many times in the past I have experienced that spark of creativity, that jolt of inspiration, I fear that it will never come again. That I will never take another photograph of worth. That I have reached the limits of my artistic journey; the end of the line; the drying up of the wellspring of my imagination.

But, I walk out the door, wondering what this day will become. With no map, no lists, no plan and, yes, with the fear as well.

It became a day of exploration; a day of discovery. A day believing that inspiration would come as long as I stayed open to its arrival.

And there it was. A window tinted gold. Diamond shards cutting its surface. Lines radiating from the dark center. Bricks shimmering in the pebbled roughness. Questions asked and a story told.

My first image honored with a Flickr “explore” designation.

All from cracked glass. And the fear. And the willingness to explore.


Posted on August 19, 2011, in Inspiration, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. The image is stunning and I love how you’re able to put words to your explorations and feelings.

    • Kathryn,
      Thank you so much for your kind words on my photo and my writing. I’ve been posting now for a little over 6 months and the writing is still a challenge. There are days when the posts seem to write themselves; but more often, I struggle with getting my muddled thoughts down. The thesaurus is now my best friend.

      I just found it so amazing that on a day when the weather seemed “against” me, I ended up taking this shot. We can’t ever know when inspiration will strike and present us with such an opportunity. The other funny thing is that I went back to these windows the next day – this time the sun was shining – and found that the images weren’t nearly as effective with a blue sky. That’ll teach me!

  2. Mom,

    This is by far one of my favorite photos you have taken. It’s a beautiful picture. I also love how you went out and found something without a plan or a to-do list. Living life without knowing what will happen next is sometimes a part of the adventure 🙂

    As always, you give me inspiration.

    Love always,
    Your daughter.

  3. What a gorgeous, gorgeous image! It’s stunning, and I love the story behind it. Oh, it’s hard to travel with uncertainty (I know!). It’s great to see the product of your adventure.
    ~ lisa

    • Lisa,
      Oh, yes. I have a hard time with uncertainty. I like my world to be sure and comfortable, knowing what comes next. And yet, often the best things come out of that fearful place. A lesson I re-learn every day.

  4. I absolutely adore this.

  5. Powerful and beautiful. Brenda, so very glad you’re continuing to ‘show up’ (get out there) despite being uncertain at times. I’m thinking now of that famous Lennon quote, but I’ll modify it for you: “Art is what happens when you’re busy making plans.”

    It’s so exciting to see what comes forth as you keep following your he(ART) and heeding the nudges of your intuition.

    • Carole,
      Yep – I just keep walking out the door. Thanks for being here to witness my experiments in uncertainty and the joys of discovery.

  6. Wow! That image just took my breath away! Fantastic! I’m with you in terms of lists and organization….so walking out the door without expectations is a challenge for me too. However, I have learned to I love doing it, and yes, almost always there’s an opportunity.

    • Gina,
      Yes, it is a real challenge for me to head out with no expectations. And yet, look what I was given? Even I, rule-follower-and-list-maker extraordinaire, can recognize that lesson 🙂

  7. I so enjoyed reading this post Brenda, and can so identify with so many things you say.

    What a wonderful photograph this is, and truly so deserving of Explore.


    Sending you wishes for a beautiful day!

    • Lisa,
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I do hope that you will come this way again.

      This photograph was a gift. A reward for setting out and trusting that something would come.

  8. I LOVE this photo! Love, love, love it! Bravo!

    • Melinda,
      Thank you so much. This is one of those very lucky photos where you just happen to walk by and the light is right and it practically composes itself.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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