21.04.2021 On being a Delight Detective

Date: 21st April 2021
Location: Isle of Wight
Category: Simply Everyday Delights

A bee’s eye view

A little back story to put this post into perspective. When I started my photography journey back in the 90s using film cameras, I was drawn to taking close ups of flowers and it was my portfolio of these that earned me my Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society.

Although I didn’t have a macro lens, I managed somehow to capture details – it was these details that drew me in – the brightly coloured pollen clinging to the stamens or scattered on the petals, the shapes of the stamens, the graduations of colour right in the centre of the flower, the patterns and arrangements of petals and stamens enhanced by shadows and light, the downright lusciousness and intricacies of nature.

I felt I was capturing a bee’s eye view

Intentional details

I’d never really looked at things like this before – its not something I did in my 20s and 30s. It wasn’t until I started my 365 projects 20 years later that I began to examine my “photo style” and shift to taking intentional photos of small details.

This became a practice I really enjoyed and spent hours on and it became the way I look at life, trickling into my consciousness. Observing, noticing and paying attention – all tools that provided ways to spot the minute details in everything, not just flowers and photography.

Take walking as an example. A walk for me is a slow dawdle, a mooch especially if I have my camera with me. I stop and examine the details on everything, much to the frustration of my walking companions! Benches, gates, fence posts, sheds, gravestones, pathways and pavings, tree trunks – all offer a whole world of interesting detail if you notice.

Curiosity and hunting for jewels

Dawdling (so often used with negative connotations) in a positive sense assumes a slow pace that encourages paying attention and curiosity. Being curious gives me clues to follow, things to notice. Photography provides a way for me to pay attention, be curious and notice. That’s not to say that everything turns into a photograph; rather I engage with my environment on a deeper level than I ever did before.

It’s like I’m a Delight Detective, searching out the smallest details possible and then presenting them to the world in the way that I see them.

Where am I going with this?

Elizabeth Gilbert writes that:

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to discover those jewels – that’s creative living… I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

[Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear]

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that driven by curiosity, photography gives me endless opportunities to hunt for those jewels inside me and to live more creatively. This of course spills over into my life, giving it a richness that I would not otherwise have.

And that, I guess is why this blog is called Everyday Delights. My daily urge to look for the extraordinary in the mundane, in my daily round.

One thought on “21.04.2021 On being a Delight Detective

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