Archive Post: Mysterious Ways


A post from my 2011/12 photoaday challenge that I published precisely a year ago today…

For me, one of the best things about a photo-a-day or 365 project is the way it encourages you not to just see, but to truly look at your everyday surroundings – to see things as photographic subjects you previously would have dismissed, to explore and to stay curious.

I think today’s image in particular embodies that for me: the scene shot here happens to be less than 50 metres from my front door. It’s down a tiny dead-end street – no through traffic by road or by foot, there are only about four houses on it, I don’t know anyone who lives there and any view over the West End and the city centre in the distance is pretty much entirely blocked at the end of the street.

Basically, I have never had, and probably never would’ve had, any reason whatsoever to walk the 25-ish paces from the main road down to the dead-end.

Apart – of course – from that all-important curious, searching photographic mind that says “I wonder what’s down there?” – it could well be absolutely devoid of photographic potential but, hey, it might just be a goldmine. Let’s check it out. Today’s image, and the last six on my blog are all taken within about 250 metres of my front door. What’s waiting outside yours?

We all too often dismiss the things that are right under our noses, just outside the window, a couple of streets off our normal route to all those oh-so-everyday places we frequent. We think we’ve spotted everything there is to see before, we know it like the backs of our hands. We might well write it off as mundane, boring or banal because we see it every single day.

The truth is there’s abundant beauty, interest and excitement in the mundane, the banal, the everyday. It’s the fabric of our lives. That’s interesting. There’s a universe of subjects glittering around us every hour of every day – it’s just sometimes seeing the wood for the trees is, understandably, not always so easy.

Just because you consider something as underwhelmingly ordinary does not mean it necessarily is. They say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Equally, what seems everyday to you can be incredibly exotic, exciting and revelatory to others. You ride the subway to work everyday? Think it’s dull? Who’d be interested in that yeah? Loads of people. Loads. Get shooting and get sharing.

Your lens can be a vehicle that takes others to another place and another moment in the rich and varied world in which we live – just as you can be transported and excited by scenes from Paris, Phoenix or Yorkshire. Anywhere on this rock that we all call ‘home’.

So here’s to staying curious, relishing your surroundings and recognising the banal and the everyday as truly amazing.

religion pray prayer glasgow scotland church statue priest reverend vicar father window reflection branches trees mysterious ways 365 day photoaday challenge photoblog rob cartwright

You can see more images from my photoaday challenge here.

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3 thoughts on “Archive Post: Mysterious Ways

  1. I remember this photo. I fully agree. My first solo art exhibit was “The Extraordinary in the Ordinary”, and I’m still finding that in my paintings, and it also started me photoblogging. What a wonderful gift it is to see something magic in everything.

    • Hi Bernadette, yes it really is an amazing gift to give yourself: just looking at the world in a slightly different way by searching for things to capture, it seems to heighten your senses and enriches your experience of life. I find myself still noticing all sorts of things even when I don’t have my camera with me. And where I used to get frustrated by that I’m now pretty chilled about – I just enjoy that moment for what it is, capture the photo in my mind and rest easy in the knowledge that I could have got the shot if I did have my camera and they’ll be a billion other fascinating, beautiful, ugly, hilarious or moving things to capture in the future. Many thanks!

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