Giving Thanks for the Art of Photography

November 21, 2019

This is a featured article from Karen Foley is a freelance photographer and writer. See more of her work at karenfoleyphotography.com.

Thanksgiving can be such a hectic time. Between the shopping and the cooking, the cleaning and the travelling, it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get ready for the holiday. But when the day finally arrives, and family and friends have gathered around – sharing laughs and creating new memories – we are reminded that the true meaning of this day is about giving thanks for the bounties we have in our lives.

Photo© Marko Bukorovic – Dreamstime.com

There is a lot one can be thankful for. There are the big things like the love of a family or the blessing of good health and prosperity. And there are the many other things – big and small – that make life fulfilling for you personally.

As someone who stumbled into photography about a decade ago, I have to count the art of photography as one of my things to be thankful for. That may seem like a strange thing to some, but to me, photography is so central to my daily life I would be disingenuous not count it as one of my blessings.

Miniature people with a 35mm film camera and film reels composing the picture.

I am thankful for the art of photography because ….

Photography allows me to see and share more of the world

I love to travel. Whether it’s finding new things in my own backyard, in the next state, or around the world, photography always gives me an excuse to grab my camera and explore the world around me. I also love to see awe-inspiring photos from my fellow travellers that not only thrill my senses but always seem to add just one more place to go on that ever-growing bucket list.

Panorama of Perito Moreno Glacier and Lake Argentino in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.

Photography documents our fleeting world

The only constant in life is change, and along with the passing of time comes the loss of things we love. It can be as personal as losing a beloved pet or member of the family; or as universal as the extinction of flora and fauna or the loss of the natural wonders of the world. Photography allows us to capture memories of what we treasure so that we can hold them forever.

A picture can redefine how you view the world

It is easy to fall into the trap of always viewing world issues from your own narrow point of view. A photo taken from a fresh approach – or from the “other side” of an issue – can challenge those preconceptions and force us out of our comfort zones.

Photo © Serban Enache – Dreamstime.com

A picture can speak a thousand words – and conveys even more emotions

There is no denying that, no matter how well written, it is often impossible to convey in words what is better told in pictures. The raw, unedited emotions of any situation captured perfectly in a timely image will always move me more than the best-written essay. And images are far less open to the interpretation of events the way some pundits would have us believe.

Portrait of silverback mountain gorilla eating in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda, Africa.

Photography gives a voice to the voiceless

I am passionate about animals that are disappearing from the planet. I am in awe of the beauty of nature being destroyed by man. I champion the underdog. I may root for causes that I only heard of yesterday if they seem important. Whatever is in need of a champion and may not have a voice for themselves, photography can lend them its megaphone for the world to hear.

Photography can be beautiful, thought-provoking, heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time, and I cannot imagine spending a single day of my life without it. In an era of divisiveness and anger, photography provides the grounding influence I need to keep me thankful for all that is in my life.

Blackboard with greeting “Happy Thanksgiving” and Fall seasonal decorations on wood

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with whatever it is you are thankful for in life. Happy Holidays.

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