In celebration of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I joined my dad for his photo ritual, “Ten Days of Awe”. For the past ten days, I commemorated this time of reflection and rejoicement in Judaism by taking a photo of a simple, yet exceptional moment which caused me to pause, look, and appreciate. This project was particularly special for me given that I am currently living in Spain and am already immersed in an environment of constant newness. Partaking in this photo ritual was a way of challenging myself to search for beauty in that which often goes unnoticed and to find the spectacular within the ordinary–in the moments which depend not on where we are, but on how we look. I hope these images can inspire us to see our environment with new, more appreciative eyes.
First Day of Awe: A beautiful convergence of light, shadow, building and man.
Second Day of Awe: A couple’s tender embrace while sharing a humbling view. As my sister fittingly commented, “yin, yang.”
Third Day of Awe: I took this photo inside an extravagantly ornate cathedral. The walls were bathed in gold and decorated with intricate carvings–a feast for the eyes. Despite all the magnificent sights that vied for my attention, this particular scene pulled me in. The lines, the shapes, the afternoon light…that pop of red. Who needs a gold encrusted statue of Jesus when you can have this?
Fourth Day of Awe: Spain never fails to provide me with moments of delicious juxtaposition. While walking through Salamanca, I was gifted with this wonderful view of the old city nestled between the vibrant hues of modernity. I stopped, smiled to myself, snapped a picture, and walked away thinking about how that type of contrast simply doesn’t exist in the United States.
Fifth Day of Awe: Walking along the river, I found this scene to be especially beautiful; I loved how all the different interactions–between both animals and people–were framed by the trees. I was also drawn to that small pop of yellow, a delicate reminder of upcoming change.
Sixth Day of Awe: I was sick and cooped up in my room all day, so finding beauty in my surroundings was particularly challenging. Thankfully, some good light and some good lines can make anything beautiful. Here is the view from my window as the the afternoon light painted shadows along the corridor, a lovely moment before I crawled back into bed and curled up under the covers.
Seventh Day of Awe: Before dinner, I set out on a walk to catch the sunset. After spending most of the past two days sick in bed, basking in the golden light of 8 pm was exactly the rejuvenation that I needed. As the sun crawled back into the mountains, I was suddenly standing in a field of silouhettes–a landscape of black shapes that pierced the soft purples and timid oranges of the evening.
Eighth Day of Awe: Ten steps out the door and I found today’s photo. Toledo is a heaven for pigeons, and the old walls of our school building make for an attractive resting spot. As I passed by, curious pigeons popped out of the holes above me, cooing in acknowledgment–they made me giggle.
Ninth Day of Awe: A photograph of a man photographing his own moment of awe. Amazement is infectious.
Tenth Day of Awe: A visual ode to an afternoon spent at my favorite spot along the river enjoying a delicious pomegranate and a philosophy essay by Ortega y Gasset. For those of you who know me well, I’m sure you can imagine how content I was in this moment.
To many more days of savoring the beauty we are immersed in and allowing ourselves the time for reflection.