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COLUMN: Capturing The Details

Heights Senior Staff Columnist

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014

Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2014 01:01

I am a firm believer in the details. The nitty-gritty of our daily lives often seems to be lost to the greater ideals of society, larger life goals, or overarching historical themes and trends. I’ve always considered myself to be an appreciator of the little things in life, which I hope has led me to become a more astute observer over the course of my 20 years. During the next four months, I will attempt to record the daily details and pure moments that will encompass my life studying abroad with an alternative service-learning program in the Philippines. The smell of the flowers, the hum of the traffic, the texture of the air, the sounds of my community—I want to be a voice for the things that normally go unnoticed to the average listener both at home and abroad. I seek to capture life in a unique way that can often be overlooked when one simply isn’t paying too much attention. A good friend recently said to me in reference to my upcoming abroad experience that I could “just write a book about [my] breakfast, let alone the entirety of four months.” This off-the-record statement has led me to sift through my thoughts about how I want to approach my abroad experience as well as my time next year back at Boston College.

I don’t necessarily consider myself to be a writer. I feel like I best communicate through the visual world. As a photographer, I’d like to think that I have the ability to convey sentiments and ideas through events, people, scenery, and those pivotal, detailed moments that aren’t as easily described by a paper and pen. However, during the next four months, I will challenge myself to start recounting my experiences through mediums that I wouldn’t normally push myself to use. I can only hope to capture life in the most detailed and realistic way possible, but also in a way that can relate to everyone, both at BC and abroad.

Photography is about capturing life’s everyday details in a creative and unique way that calls people to action, elicits a reaction, and makes people aware of something that they may not have been previously aware of. National Geographic writer Robert Draper said in a recent issue that, “a great photograph can explode the totality of our world, such that we never see it quite the same again.” Photographs and visuals have the power to impact our thoughts and emotions in a unique way to provoke compassion. I’ve tried to do just that: to explode my previous conception of the world by examining the details of everyday life—the people, the places, the things that make us all human. But maybe this phenomenon can also be accomplished through the written word, as well, and I make a promise to try to do just that this upcoming semester.

So I challenge you, BC, take a breath, soak in the sights, sounds, and experiences presented to you over the course of this semester and hopefully your life. This doesn’t even have to come through a photograph, a column, a poem, a drawing—it solely entails being observant to the daily minutia of life. Try to understand the sacred silence blended within the cacophony of quotidian life. Notice the intricate details of campus architecture, spend a few moments traversing the rolling hills of Brighton campus, take time and listen to what’s being said around you, observe emotions so you know when a friend just needs a big hug, but most importantly examine the small details about yourself that contribute to who you are as a person. We are made up of thousands upon thousands of tiny details that are waiting to be observed within the context of society itself. Don’t be afraid, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be captured in whatever way you choose. I’m ready for the challenge if you are.

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