Are you familiar with the phrase or its variations "Life is short. Use the Fine China." I've always liked it. When you grow up poor, you are very careful with your nice things. They are cherished. Protected. Shielded. Set aside for special occasions. When there is no promise you'll ever have another, you don't take chances. You don't take them for granted.
It was a few years after graduating college when I first heard that phrase and began to ponder it. I recognized that my life never had special occasions quite special enough. My favorite clothes went unworn. My favorite pens didn't write. I've never owned Fine China, but the nicer pieces I did have were unscathed by the mars of actual use. That wasn't what I wanted my life to be like, so I stopped. It was wonderful to enjoy the use of my favorite things.
Over the last 3 months, I've been thinking about why I share my photography online. I could certainly continue to shoot, but keep all my images to myself. I wanted to get to the heart of my motivations and determine where I want to go from here. I often fear that others find my images pretentious or attention seeking, when that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm far too frequently tempted to pull back altogether and never share another word or photo.
As I was driving over the weekend, the idea of the Fine China came to mind.
While I do believe we should be using and enjoying our "Fine China" on a regular basis, that doesn't change the fact that it remains Fine China. These items in our lives are special. Significant. Important. Works of art that speak to our hearts when we touch them and bring them fully into their glory by use.
My artistic heart receives the greatest joy when I photograph ordinary life that catches my eye. Every day I notice the collision of beautiful light and people being their true selves, and my heart aches with it. We are going through our mundane lives, full of the drudgery that is part of living, and not noticing that we are always surrounded by Fine China.
These seemingly ordinary, nondescript moments ARE the China.
And most of us are using it as the phrase proposes, but not recognizing the difference between it and a disposable paper plate. I share my photos with you all because I want you to SEE. I want you to see that these moments in my life that likely echo ordinary moments in yours are so utterly, breathtakingly beautiful.
Just as I cannot fully enjoy a meal I've cooked unless I have someone to share in it with me, I cannot fully enjoy these images unless I have you to view them as well. My children inundate me with me "Momma! Look at THIS!" I cannot seem to look fast enough between them. They've seen something glorious, but it isn't all it could be unless it is shared. They need me to be part of it with them. That is how I feel about my photography. "Look! Look at this marvelous thing I noticed. Enjoy it, but please, WITH me."
I share these beautiful photos of the ordinary everyday because I want you to realize that life IS the Fine China. We are living surrounded by a beautiful earth that God has given to us. We get to be part of that Fine China every day. Let's continue to use it, but also, recognize it for what it really is.