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Reflecting on the Past Year Through Images

As we approach the new year, over the last few days I’ve been somewhat surprised at the vehemence with which people are eager to bid goodbye to the old one.  “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, 2012,” one friend growled recently.  “Bring on 2013.”

I’m always left a little astonished by this, to be honest — not the fact that people are eager to leave the bad things that happen behind, of course, we all want to do that — but more that their focus on the negative of the year so complete overshadows their ability to notice the good that  the year may have brought, as well. My surprise at this was happening so often that I began to think maybe I was delusional. I mean, my year certainly had its challenges as well (my mother’s bout with life-threatening illness near the top of the list), but surely there had been some good in my life in 2012 as well? Or perhaps I was just some hopeless Pollyanna, unable to see dismal reality for what it really was?

But then, inspired by my friend, photographer Susannah Conway, who shared her favourite photographs that she had taken over 2012, I decided to do my own inventory of the images I’d shot during the same period (a somewhat daunting task, since I shoot a lot).  So in the last week, I’ve pored through my archives of photographs from every camera I use, from my dSLR to my iPhone.

The exercise was an eye-opening one:  not only did I discover that there was a lot of beauty in my life in 2012, I realized that the beauty was often in the most mundane of occasions — and that often it was my camera phone that allowed me to capture some of its beauty.

Here are some of my favourite, relatively run-of-the-mill moments of 2012:

nggallery template=’carousel’ id=’6′

  • cold winter mornings 1 of 10
    cold winter mornings
    There's nothing really special about this shot, except that one winter morning, I noticed the light, and happened to have my camera on me. I love quiet winter mornings, and this is what this image says to me.
  • new toys 2 of 10
    new toys
    My husband bought me an old film camera for Christmas last year, and I've loved re-learning photography with it. This is the son of one of my best friends, and one of the first shots I took with the camera.
  • impromptu lunches 3 of 10
    impromptu lunches
    On Valentine's Day, my husband and I spontaneously decided to forgo the stereotypical Valentine's Day dinner, opting instead for an impromptu brunch at a local cafe we hadn't tried. It was a great time, and we discovered a new haunt!
  • my daughter turned 8 4 of 10
    my daughter turned 8
    My daughter, Alex, celebrated her 8th birthday, and for the first time, she didn't seem like a "little" girl anymore -- more of a big girl. I'm so happy she's my daughter.
  • Jenny’s success 5 of 10
    Jenny's success
    One of my best friends published her first book this year, and it was, by all measures, a resounding success. Seeing this picture of another good friend hugging her at her surprise celebration party reminds me how awesome it is when great people do great things.
  • family picnics 6 of 10
    family picnics
    This year was the Year of the Family Picnic -- we had several of them all through the year. I love this wonderful reminder that we have great times together, even when we don't spend a dime.
  • My 10th anniversary 7 of 10
    My 10th anniversary
    My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this year. He's a great guy, and I'm very lucky.
  • The arrival of William 8 of 10
    The arrival of William
    One of my best friends and his wife had their first child this year -- a son, William. It's so great watching them grow into a family.
  • Alex’s spontaneous laughter 9 of 10
    Alex's spontaneous laughter
    I don't even remember the circumstances that caused my daughter to laugh with her whole body like this, but I'm so glad I had my cellphone at hand to capture it. She's a lot of fun
  • A quiet Christmas 10 of 10
    A quiet Christmas
    We spent Christmas at home this year, with just immediate family. It was exactly the way I love Christmas to be spent.

After going through these images, mostly, I feel vindicated:  I’m not crazy, or a Pollyanna, there were moments of great beauty in the year.  And without even thinking too much about it, I’d managed to capture some of these moments all year long.

So on this day, the day before the last day of 2012, I encourage you to scroll through the images in your own archives that you captured this year — regardless of the medium you used to capture them, whether by expensive camera or cheap cameraphone.  I guarantee that in reminiscing over these photos, you’ll be more inclined to greet the new year with anticipation of more of the beautiful moments that have been in your past, rather than dwelling on the not-so-lovely ones.

I promise.

And with that, Happy New Year, friends.

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