Photographing the Yin

In a lifetime, we all experience calm and fear, happiness and sorrow, victory and defeat, beauty and ugliness. As you’ve seen on this blog, we tend to share and talk about photography that captures only the calm, happiness, victory, and beauty. Hey, most photography blogs do. Those who share here capture weddings and sunsets, laughing children and opening flowers. There are photographs of birds in flight and moons rising. We talk about technical stuff to make our photography look better. We talk about practical stuff to protect or transport our equipment. In other words, there’s a lot more yang than yin.

Have you ever tried photographing the harder, heavier stuff in your life? Of course there are some things that are just so awful we don’t want to remember or capture them in images. But some of the hard things have a beautiful side. Photographers are naturally good at seeing that. I think some of our hardest moments are important to capture. In fact, these might be as worthy of a photograph as our wedding kisses and our little babies in their first moments in our arms.

Photography of difficult moments in life

Think of this: There are professional photographers who make their living capturing the last days or even moments of those nearing death. They all seem to agree—as do their clients—that in those painfully tough moments, a kind of transcendent beauty is often afoot. They feel that these moments should be preserved for survivors to revisit as they grieve. In other words, in those hard times, there are things worth remembering: families reuniting, spouses experiencing their love on a whole new plane, revelations and larger perspectives. People are often reconnecting with what’s important in their lives.

In the end, it’s sort of like that photograph you’d take of the tiniest, prettiest, most unexpected flower in the most desolate, homeliest eyesore of a location. Isn’t it? Photography can help you notice and remember that there is beauty between the hard spots.

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2 thoughts on “Photographing the Yin

  1. Jenn says:

    It’s in those moments that our eyes are opened to behold the beauty that was always there.

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