Weekend Photo Challenge: Delicate


rachel-paul-hand-hold-car

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Delicate“.

Enough said.

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful (humor edition) [casual fri]


Earlier this week I posted a response to this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, which is on the theme of “Thankful“. I wrote what I hope was a beautiful expression of thankfulness that I ran across in my job; I wrote about a client of mine and the slow process of healing that brings us healing in the smallest things.

With that encouragement in mind, I’d like to offer you one of the things I’m most thankful for. What is it? I’m very, very thankful I no longer have the hair pictured below, circa 2006 (for comparison, here’s a current one):

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.

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Weekend Photo Challenge: Healing Thankfulness


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Thankful“. As soon I read the prompt, I thought of this picture.

It’s a client of mine. As a social worker, I have to deal in lots of tough stories (as I’ve written about before). This particular client is an interesting one, though. She doesn’t have too much “traditional” major trauma in her life, but that which she has, mostly, is of her own doing–or the doing of her illness, rather.

You see, she has what we call a “Personality Disorder“, meaning that she’s not really psychotic, doesn’t suffer the highs of mania, nor the lows of depression, nor is she suicidal. Rather, what she struggles with the most is a psychological disease that affects her very personality. She has a child-like demeanor that can be annoying, off-putting, attention-seeking, soul-sucking, and always full of emotional drama.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Renewal“.  This here is a picture of one of my favorite rooms in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s in the medieval art section (a section which, as I’ve written before, carries much significance to my soul).

I still remember the first time I turned the corner and saw this crucifix on the wall. It’s crude, yet so beautiful. It faces another, dimly-lit room in which there is a medieval-era altar on which there was taken countless pieces of Eucharist.

The last time I was at the museum, though, I noticed a bit of symbolism I’d never noticed (and I have no idea why). This crucifix is positioned above a 13th-century knight’s tomb effigy. After spending some time in reflection near the aforementioned altar, I looked back through the arch and for the first time noticed that the gaze of the dying Christ seemed to be settling not on the museum passer-bys, but on the effigy of the dead knight before him.

The Christ’s gaze of sadness and pity no longer seemed to be for his own sufferings, but for the death and suffering of this one that lay before him. This gaze seemed to carry with it not only sadness, but also a stoic confidence that through this act, he would bring an end to this knight’s sleep.

Through this act of loss and sadness, here is a picture now of rebirth and renewal, made all the more meaningful as I took this picture from the steps of that altar, bathed in darkness, on which was consecrated and served Christ’s body, broken for our renewal and light–then, and today.

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.

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Weekend Photo Challenge: Silhouette (Autumn edition)


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Silhouette“. For this challenge, I was able to choose I picture that’s very important to me. Like I said in my previous Photo Challenge post, photography editing is still relatively new to me; but for many years now, the desire to simply take beautiful pictures has been a consistent interest.

This was certainly true for me during my time in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. Richmond is a beautiful city, but not in the grandiose way that usually marks the beauty of other American cities. No, Richmond’s beauty is far more subtle, and you find it most clearly exhibited in quiet corners and places that only residents would truly know. In fact, my first Photo Challenge picture was in this vein.

This picture was taken at the very beginning of the fall of 2005. It was my first Richmond Autumn as a resident: having conquered freshman year, there were now no more dorms or still learning the city. I had an apartment near campus and could honestly call Richmond home. The evening of this picture, I stepped outside and found myself captured by the oncoming sunset. I jumped in my car and raced to my favorite in spot in Richmond: Church Hill.

This hill looks out over the entire city (not unlike another hill that plays prominently in my life).This is the hill from which the original founders of the city laid the grid-lines for the streets. The “Church” on this hill from whence it derives its name is St. John’s Church, the very Church from which Patrick Henry proclaimed “give me liberty, or give me death!”.

I made it to Church Hill just in time to take some beautiful pictures of one of the most beautiful sunsets I ever saw in Richmond. It was one of my favorite introvert moments and captured so well the essence of my favorite times of solitude: me awash in beauty.

It was also the beginning of Autumn in Richmond, and I couldn’t help but draw my attention to the trees that were just about to peak in their transition towards death. I took this picture trying to capture the harmony and dissonance that exists when Nature is at the climax of its beauty; when darkness and death lay mere moments away.

Sorry to wax poetic, but this picture captures my own hope for my death and mortality. Even though I fear death so much, my hope is that my own death would exist in what this picture represents: the height of beauty awaiting sunrise, and awaiting spring. It’s appropriate that Henry’s words echoed from these heights, for it’s precisely in this place–and in this moment–that I precisely find liberty in death.

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.

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Weekend Photo Challenge: Big


This week’s new WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Big“. (The post I put up yesterday on the theme of “Happy”, was actually a response to last Friday’s theme, today I put up this week’s new theme).

This is a picture of one of the most most interesting and unique pieces of architecture I’ve ever seen: Philadelphia’a City Hall (you can see it’s uniqueness here and here). I love that building. It is (in as serious an non-ironic of a way) so majestic.

This picture is significant not only because of it’s subject’s centrality in a city I love. It’s also the first picture I took with the now-defunct site/app Picplz (it was an Instagram competitor on Android). It’s also the first picture (that I can think of) that I ever took in downtown Philadelphia. What all that means is that this is the picture that began my love affair with urban photography and photo editing; a love that eventually spawned my Philadelphia photoblog, The Daily Philly, as well as my desire to do this very WordPress Photo Challenge each week.

So, thanks for viewing, liking, retweeting, and commenting.

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy (multi-header!) [casual fri]


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Happy“. The prompt they have offered us is to make a collage of those things that make us happy. So…here’s mine. Click on any of the pictures to bring up the full-size gallery.

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Weekend Photo Challenge: Solitary


This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Solitary“. After much deliberation (and annoying my brother), I decided on this one.

This picture was taken on a missions trip I took to Latvia in 2007. Where we were staying was a mere 50 yards from a beach running along the Baltic Sea. Being so far north, the brilliant sunsets would last for several hours on into 11pm. And those sunsets were so brilliant.

One evening, after dinner, I went out to beach on my own. They had these tall jungle gym sort-of things dotting the beach for kids. I was able to climb up one of them and sat there for a couple of hours taking pictures. I saw this one older gentleman appear on the beach and just walk: hands folded and his mind deep-in-thoughts. I (creepily) watched him for some time, fascinated by his gait, wanting to know his thoughts.

And so, to me, this pictures captures the beauty, contemplation, weightiness, and depth of solitude. I need moments like these to stay sane, and I hope to channel this man’s practice  for years to come.

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.

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Weekend Photo Challenge: Everyday Life (a double-header!)


This weeks’s WordPress “Photo Challenge“theme is “Everyday Life”. The challenge is to find and create beauty from people doing the most everyday things in their lives. I’ve chosen–not one, but–two (!) pictures for this week.

The first picture above (be sure to click it to view it full-size) is of one of my very best friends during a trip she made to Philadelphia a few years ago. This is one of those friends that you immediately connect with and can go years without talking to, and yet can pick up right where you left off when you see each other again.

She had visited Philly and I had just finished showing her and a couple of our friends the campus of my seminary. We then went to a local pizza shop called “The Pizza Box” that us seminarians would frequent between classes.
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Weekend Photo Challenge: Near & Far


Last week, I introduced a new weekend feature on the blog where I post a picture of mine and talk about it as a part of WordPress’s weekly “Photo Challenge” (see the bottom of this post for more information).

This week’s theme is “Near & Far“. The challenge is to use perspective to create a three-dimensional space in your two-dimensional photo and “literally suck in the viewer”. So’ I’ve chosen the above picture.
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Weekend Photo Challenge: Free Spirit (a new weekly feature)


Today I’m introducing a new weekly post I’ll be doing. WordPress, the site that hosts this blog, has a weekly “Photo Challenge“, where bloggers are tasked with finding (or taking) a picture that captures a certain theme. See the bottom of this post for more information.

As my Facebook friends know, I do love taking pictures and trying to make them as beautiful as possible. And so, when I saw this today, I decided to begin this weekend featurette. The “challenges” are posted on Fridays, and so I will post mine over the weekend. Some weeks I might take a fresh picture, other weeks I’ll try and find an old one. I’ll post it, and tell a little bit about it.

Today’s picture is a really special one to me.
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