The first time I ever went abroad I was 36 years old. Mark had a conference in Spain and I tagged along. It was in June of 2001, pre-9/11, pre-heightened security at the airport, pre-Iraq war—pre-digital camera even. I wore running shorts that were an American flag print from Old Navy. (I don’t think I would wear them abroad now, even if I still had them. Actually, I don’t think I would wear them anywhere now, even if I still had them! I mean, let’s not kid ourselves… I’m not a teenager anymore!)
When we were in Spain, we started a friendly little competition that we call our Postcard Competition. We called it this because it’s when we see something that we think would make a great postcard to send home. We have yet to make any of them into postcards, but that’s beside the point!
How we play it is like this: one of us will spot something that we would like to take a picture of, that we think is postcard-worthy. We point it out to the other one. We each take a moment to compose our shot, or in other words to think about what we would like to be in our own unique postcard. It can be from any perspective, as long as it captures whatever the original item was that caught our eye in the first place. For instance, maybe it’s a stonewall. Or a country road. Or an Oreo cow. Or a garden cart. Or a sunset. Whatever the subject is, it must show up in each one of our postcards, somewhere. Other than that, we’re free to take the shot from wherever we’d like.
What an interesting game this has become! We have played it all over the world. And it’s so much fun to see the same subject from a different perspective than our own. And because they are from different perspectives, they look like completely different subjects! It’s fascinating to see what catches his eye versus what catches mine.
I shared this story about the postcard competition when I shared the photos for my final project. Context and perspective are part of mindfulness as defined by Ellen Langer. It also fits in to when Tal encouraged us to look at a scene from both perspectives – while we’re actively experiencing it as well as from zooming out to 30,000 feet. An image that works well for me to illustrate this is the actor onstage as opposed to – or really in addition to – the audience member watching from the balcony. Same show, completely different perspective.
Here are a few of our postcard competitions. Who wins? Sometimes I do, sometimes Mark does. Most of the time we don’t even remember who took what. I’m sure whichever one you like best it’s one I took! 😉 Actually, that’s not what’s important. What is important is that we have fun playing our game and we’ve even gotten a few great shots! And we’re definitely making memories.
Kyoto, Japan 2007:
Taoromina, Sicily, Italy 2008:
Northern Italy 2012:
Tuscany, Italy 2012:
More Tuscany 2012:
San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy 2012: