#thesilentstory is a project that I began brainstorming in the fall of 2014, because I was tired of feeling and perpetuating the constant pressures of social media that cause us to only display the happiest and picture-perfect moments of life, and then defend each image with a witty or fake caption that doesn't accurately portray how life really is. I also wanted to pay more attention to the little and simple moments, and learn more about how to capture them well. For a whole year, I took (at least) one photo each day of a story or moment with my "real camera"--a Canon SLR--and posted them with no words, other than #thesilentstory hashtag and the number of the day in the project. This "zero explanation" rule encouraged me to open my eyes to the moments that actually matter--instead of just the moments that look good in pictures. What follows is the post that was used to introduce the project on January 1, 2015.
Before our days ever really begin, each one is already clouded by too many words, and too much noise.
Too much comparing and not enough admiring. Too much anxiety and not enough simplicity. Too much speaking and not enough listening.
I photograph people, places, and things, and through those images I express who I am and what I do. Although a photograph may have a caption, its beauty is seen--not heard. This is my pursuit to discover the little, unspoken, ordinary treasures hidden in each one of the next 365 days: this is #thesilentstory, and this is an invitation.
Let me tell you more.
#thesilentstory has a few purposes, each of which is related to my 2015 New Year's resolutions:
1. Run from comparison
2. Enjoy the ordinary
3. Seek the stillness
Social media is chock full of comparison.
"Her hair is prettier than mine. I am jealous of his vacation. They have a more thrilling or more beautiful life than I do."
Run. Social media can be used as a highlight reel of all of the greatest moments in your life. Or, it can be used as a glimpse of the ordinary moments. Rather than tactfully allowing the world to see only the parts of your existence that you believe the world will deem thrilling and beautiful, share the parts of your existence that YOU deem thrilling and beautiful. More often than not...the two are the same.
Thrills and beauty are not only found in the rare moments of spontaneity and risk but in the ordinary, everyday adventures.
Enjoy. Let yourself look in awe at the people, places, and things around you that are so mundane and typical that you would not normally give them a second thought. The fullness of life is not found or created in making each moment more exciting or overwhelming than the last--instead, it is in letting the fullness of the ordinary overwhelm you. That is when life becomes the most exciting.
Excitement does not always have a noise. Just because you can shout the loudest, does not mean that you are the most heard.
Seek. Lose the fear of being alone, being quiet, and being still. Choose to listen, instead of speak. The deepest waters and most intricate artistry of God's grace are seen and felt--not heard, and sometimes, the best stories are the ones that are found in the stillness and left unspoken.
Now, back to my story. By taking photos of ordinary people, places, or things that I may not normally photograph, and committing to using my camera on a daily basis, my goal is to share photos that describe what I do and who I am, without words--ultimately, leaving some of my own stories untold.
Welcome to #thesilentstory...and thank you for "listening."