Sowing the Seeds: The Beginning of PhotoGrief

Sowing the Seeds: The Beginning of PhotoGrief

I want to take a few moments, hopefully not many, to talk to all the early adopters who are giving PhotoGrief a chance.  In the long run, our hope is for the pages of this site to be authored and illustrated by people around the world dealing with grief and loss.  This may seem like a lofty goal, but grief and art are universal and photography and the Internet are at the very least international, so our mission may not be that crazy after all.

Photos reign supreme on this site, regardless of the camera or the person who creates them.  Photographs are powerful; they communicate what words cannot, they allow us to escape, they connect people who live worlds apart, and they immortalize moments by freezing them in vidid detail.  Thanks to modern technology, we all have this power. Sure, the more skilled the photographer the prettier the picture, but there is merit in creation regardless of the outcome.

It is so easy to feel misunderstood and alone in grief.  Even if it were possible to define our emotions, it would still sometimes seem as though there aren’t enough words to overcome the myths, misconceptions, misunderstandings, biases, and judgements we encounter.  Photography allows us to reach across the void and say – here let me show you.  Even when neither of us feels like talking, we can still connect.

Of course we love words too, don’t get us wrong, and we want to hear yours. We just ask that here on this site you let what you have to say serve as a complement to what you have to show.

We have very few formal rules, but guidelines are helpful so here they are…

1.  Photographs must be original.

2. Pictures taken of text are allowed, but in general we do not want photographs with words and quotes typed directly on them.

3. A little bit of text should accompany the photo.  We want people to be thoughtful about this, although your words may be few.  A sentence or two, a quote, a poem, or a lyric would be fine.  That being said, we would absolutely love for people who enjoy writing to submit a few paragraphs or an essay (no more than 1,000-ish words please) along with their photo.

4.  Photographs must illustrate something about loss, grief, and/or your loved one and should broadly fit into the following categories:

  • #WouldHaveLovedThis = My loved one would have loved this and so I took a picture of it
  • Emotion = This is a representation of an emotion I feel/have felt in my grief and healing
  • Gratitude = This is a photograph of something I feel/have felt grateful for in my grief and healing
  • Hope and Strength = This photograph inspires me to feel hope and strength
  • Symbols = This object or symbol reminds me of my loved one and/or things I have felt in my grief and healing
  • You’re Still Here = This is a reminder or representation of the ways in which my loved one is still present in my life and the world

Our plans for this site going forward are fluid, because the best laid plans often turn into new plans.  Our goal is to post about twice a week.  Our hope is that most posts will be from our readers, but until we have enough submissions you’ll be hearing from us on relevant topics from time to time.

Lastly, we’d like to hold “challenges” (for lack of a better word) on social media where people share pictures around a certain theme so make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@whatsyourgrief) at the very least.

Alright, here’s one super easy photo exercise to get everyone started.  Share your photographs with us on social media or take the leap and submit:

Grief and Photography Exercise: Photograph one reminder of your loved one in your every day life.  This could be a literal representation like a grave marker or memorial, it could be an object that belonged to them, or it could be something more abstract like the clouds in the sky.

Together we’re collectively illustrating grief. Subscribe to PhotoGrief to receive our posts straight to your email inbox.

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