Tag Archives: Beautifully Strong

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background

25 May

In the Background: The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us. But so often when taking self portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a soft blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces.” – The Daily Post

Purple flowers in focus as a soldier walks in the background, face hidden

As soon as I saw the topic for this week’s photo challenge I went searching for this photo. It is about 4 years old now but I still get chills when I see it. And to think, this shot was pure luck, no staging, one of those perfect moments forever captured in a still-shot. I wish I could find the file without the added text, but then again it aids in the storytelling of this very special photo. Let me explain…

As I have already mentioned, this photo is 4 years old. I was a sophomore in college and my older cousin, Alan (who I adore and think of more as my older brother because he has treated me like a little sister all my life. I have no brothers of my own and his sister and I are the same age, so we are kind of a packaged deal. He pestered us both, made lots of jokes and had our backs growing up. He’s two years older than me, so you can see the relationship!) Anyways, Alan was graduating from Basic Training in Ft. Jackson, SC in 2009 and I got to make the trip down there with his parents, his sister Manda, future wife Erica and our grandparents. We were all so proud of him! We got to see his base and watch him graduate, it was a very emotional weekend.

And as Alan was taking us around, I was the “unofficial photographer” for the weekend….partly because my aunt was so excited to see him and emotional she knew she’d forget to take lots of pictures to scrapbook and partly because let’s face it, this is me we’re talking about. My camera is an extension of my arm. I hardly EVER go anywhere without it, because you never know when the perfect picture will present itself, which brings me back to my photo for the week.

Alan had stopped to point out something (a building a person, a drill course, I don’t remember now) and tell us a story about it when I noticed these BEAUTIFUL purple flowers blowing in the wind. So naturally, I start taking photos of them. The shots were nice but the composition was all off and that’s when I knelt down and saw it through the lens on my camera, the perfect visual representation of something BEAUTIFULLY STRONG.

Here’s why I love this photo. The flowers are this bold purplish-pink color and immediately the eye is drawn to them. The branches provide beautiful curving, dark contrasting lines to offset the color. And then if you look closely, hidden in the background among the green of the trees and the grass is a soldier in camo, with his face hidden. He could represent anyone’s son, brother, cousin, uncle, father, friend…anyone. I’m glad that he’s out-of-focus because it forces you to really look for him, and once spotted he becomes what your eye is drawn to, the real subject of this photo, the strength and beauty of America. I choose to title this shot “Beautifully Strong” because it’s a beautiful sacrifice these brave men and women who serve our country make. They must be strong in their decision and their families, loved-ones, friends and those left behind must also be strong enough to support them.

How fitting a topic and photo for this Memorial Day weekend, I couldn’t be more proud of my cousin and all my other family members who are currently serving or have served. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to keep us safe. I love you all! ❤