About the Bottle Cap Collection
The Chicago Gold bottle cap was the first to catch my eye. Something about the way the sun lit up that copper-colored border was simply irresistible. So I clicked...and it was beautiful. I didn't know then that it was the beginning of a new collection. But then one day, drinking kombucha while watching Ian play baseball, I noticed how fabulous the silver bottle cap looked next to the ridges on the silver bleachers. So again, click. Over the course of the next few weeks, I stumbled across a few more, and after that...I was officially on a mission.
And that's when things got dangerous.
My mission morphed into a bit of an obsession. Everywhere I went I looked down, oblivious to other pedestrians who were mostly kind enough and with-it enough to get out of my way. I found a couple of bottle caps while crossing streets, so I had to jump in and out of traffic to get the shots I wanted.
In her new book Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice, Christine Valters Paintner* writes about the difference between looking for, capturing and taking photos vs. seeing, allowing and receiving them. I was definitely in looking-capturing-taking mode, and while I ultimately got what I wanted, and I'm happy with the collection, I wonder...
Was I lost in the creative process...or was I just lost?
While I was on my quest, scouring every sidewalk and parking lot and road for bottle caps, were there people who needed my attention? How many opportunities for connection went unrealized? What else was available to me that God was hoping I'd notice?
I know what I found...but what did I miss?
Now that I have emerged from my bottle cap scavenger hunt, I'm paying more attention, and recognizing the difference between photography as a spiritual practice that allows me to deepen into my life vs. photography as a distraction that pulls me away, keeps me from being fully present to my life. There's a wonderfully fine line, and I'm finding that the best approach is to walk it lightly. Playfully, even. There's no right or wrong, just a standing invitation to begin again, to suspend expectations and agendas and instead allow for the possibility of surprise and wonder. If I can trust that the images I want are the same ones that want me, then I don't have to work to find them...I simply have to make myself available to them.
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*On May 22, Faith Squared will be featuring an interview with Christine about her new book. Do stop by and check it out. Don't forget your camera. :-)