Life lessons from photography – #5

Here’s wrapping up my 5-story challenge, with a photo, a story and a (personal) life lesson. Many thanks to Yvette and Indah for nominating me for this!


The photo

hibiscus Hong Kong

Clicked at the TST promenade in Hong Kong. The contrasts caught my attention –  the vivid yellow alongside the dull gray; the soft flower on the hard stone; the circular patterns against the straight lines; and the freshness versus the grime.


The story

Have you ever come across people with fancy-looking equipment, photographing ordinary things?

Before I got interested in photography myself, such people always puzzled me.

Their cameras were not trained at any grand sights, or monuments, or people, or what have you…. But at something common – like a light fixture, a pavement, a frog, or a discarded shoe. The everyday stuff that I would usually pass by, without a second glance.

It made me pause, wonder what on earth they were doing, try to figure out the reason for their obsession, and then shrug my shoulders and walk on.

I just didn’t get it.

And then, as I started spending more time shooting, I figured it out.

They were indulging in something fascinating!

… Seeing the magic in the mundane.

… Discovering the remarkable in the routine.

… Capturing the splendour in the simplicity.

Photography makes you observe carefully, contemplate deeply and find an expression of beauty in something that others may have overlooked.

Like this little hibiscus, fallen off a tree. Soon to be trodden below the boots of unaware passersby. But in that moment, it had called to me with its contrasts.

It might not mean anything to anyone else, but whenever I see this photo, it makes me smile.


The lesson

Don’t take the little things for granted. For, the extraordinary is usually found in the most ordinary of things.

A simple light fixture or a gorgeous arrangement of shapes and shadows?

A boring pavement, or the textures and colours that tell its story?

An ugly frog, or its fascinating eyes?

An old shoe, or the wonder of the places it might have been?

It’s not what you look at that matters, but how you see…

Alter your perspective, and you’ll discover that even in your darkest moments, there are great blessings to be thankful for.



P.S. My final nomination goes to Meg, who has multiple homes in the blogosphere (as well as in the real world). Her thoughtful comments throughout this series have been a source of encouragement and inspiration for me, and through her latest blog site, I have enjoyed getting a flavour of Warsaw.