Nowadays, it seems as though I’m constantly taking photos. My camera roll is jam packed with a chaotic collection of images, including but not limited to: yesterday’s lunch, my friends standing in front of the dining hall on the way back from dinner, and the run down building I drove by on the way to the football game a few weeks ago. Although they might seem obscure, all of these pictures were taken intentionally. That lunch was the best meal I’d eaten all week and vibrant with color and flavor, that walk back from the dining hall with my friends featured a backdrop of a beautiful sherbert-colored sunset, and that run-down building had cloudy skies behind it with a subtle rainbow peeking through.
One day, I decided to start snapping pictures of anything beautiful or fascinating that I see, and as I did it more and more, I started to observe my surroundings more closely and recognize new things to appreciate and document. It takes just a few seconds to get out your phone and take a photo. It’s an incredibly simple thing, and yet it’s had an immense impact on my life. Without really realizing it in the moment, I found myself taking joy in what otherwise would have been dull moments. I used to begrudgingly trek to my 8 am class with my head down, but once I had the intention of finding opportunities for photos in the back of my mind, I started to realize the beauty of the sunrise and the fall leaves around me.
On a larger scale, taking photos has made my life generally more positive. It has taught me to find something worthy of appreciation in every situation. And most of the time, these moments of positivity or beauty are small things, things I never would’ve noticed previously. It is far too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, juggling all of your responsibilities so much that forget to take a few seconds to look around at your surroundings. But when you do remember to look around, you get to see such amazing things. And when you do notice them and take a picture, you preserve that small, special moment, which is a beautiful gift.
So, next time you’re driving by what might seem like a plain or insignificant scene, stop for a minute. Take a closer look, and think hard about how you might find a particular angle or spot that is worth photographing- that’s worth preserving. In this way, you’ll find things you never would’ve otherwise seen or realized were there; you’re training yourself to find something, anything, to appreciate in that moment. This mindset starts with the act of taking the picture, but it extends into so many other spheres of one’s life. With this mindset of opportunity, of romanticism, and of appreciation, you have the ability to more deeply enjoy all of life’s little moments: the moments of struggle, of joy, of quiet, and everything in between.