Photogrief has been on a little hiatus because stuff has been craaaaazy with the new roll outs over on What’s Your Grief, but fear not: we’re back today with a summer photo challenge that we hope will inspire you to pick up your camera this summer.
When it comes to grief there are some phrases and expressions we hear time again. These can run the risk of turning into annoying cliches (especially annoying when they aren’t necessarily true – think “time heals all wounds”). But in some cases these expressions are rooted in experiences shared by many grievers like, for instance, “grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves”. Those moments when your grief comes up out of nowhere, washing over you or knocking you down like a ton of bricks, for many these have affectionately become known as “grief waves”. In these cases, expressions like this can remind us that we aren’t alone.
Now, I hadn’t typically thought of “grief waves” as a particularly summer-y term, until photos of people’s summer beach trips started to fill our feed on instagram. Suddenly I realized a picture of a wave couldn’t help but bring to mind the idea of grief waves – the ups and downs and comings and goings of grief emotions. And so our summer photogrief challenge was born: this summer we want you to photograph your grief waves.
We know this could take any number of shapes and sizes, and that is one of the things that is so great about this challenge. Photographing a grief wave could mean anything from taking a photograph of a physical object or moment that triggered a wave of grief to emerge. It could be motivating yourself, on one of those days that a grief wave has knocked you down, to capture the experience in a photograph.
Feeling confused? Don’t be! Here are a couple of very simple examples of grief waves. First, there was the time I had a total meltdown because of a sock display at Target (weird, I know, but grief waves are weird. You can read the full story here). I quickly fled the store, but not until snapping an iphone photo:
Then there was the moment more recently, while I was cleaning out my mom’s house, that I found a box of old letters my grandparents had written back and forth while my grandfather was in WWII. It was an ocean of grief waves and, yet again, I channeled some of that emotion by photographing the letters:
Finally, there was a day that was just rough last year, when I had no motivation to do anything at all. Though I couldn’t put my finger on what brought it up, I felt like I was being crushed under a grief wave. While fighting my way through, I dug out my camera and took some photographs – it was my way of forcing myself to do something. I pulled a page from Eleanor’s grief and photography handbook and, skeptical as I often am about self-portraits, I plopped myself in front of the camera and started clicking away. I tried to capture the feeling of this wave, the mood of the day.
For our Summer Photogrief Challenge tell us, What’s Your Grief Wave?
Share with us the photos of your grief waves by adding them to our gallery and/or sharing them on social media with the hashtag #griefwaves. We will reshare some of the submissions in both a “round up” post at the end of the summer, as well as on social media. We hope this provides some inspiration to not only take some photos, but to push yourself in the moments and on the days that it is especially tough. We hate that we all have to suffer through #griefwaves, but we look forward seeing your image. Check out the submission page here.