Community Post: Whatever the Reason

In Community, Inspiration
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As 2018 moves toward its close, we at ViewFinders have taken time to look through the photographs we made over the past twelve months.  Family, friends, clients; landscape, still life, food; experimentation, tried-and-true, happy accident.  While each of us has countless images from 2018 that feel important or are well-liked, we have individually culled our images for a singular photograph that holds special meaning.

The photographs we share in this post may have been chosen for technicalities or sentimentalities. Whether we’re clear on knowing the reasons we love it, or whether we’re clear on feeling the reasons, we’d like to share with you, our ViewFinders community, the images that have touched our hearts, for whatever reason.  We hope they’ll touch yours too.

After you look through these images, we hope you’ll take some time to look through the photographs you created in 2018.  We hope you’ll understand the importance of each image created by you, each image unique in the way that you frame and choose settings, in the way you process, in the way you make the initial decision to press the shutter.  Have fun culling your photos (don’t forget to save them securely and print some out!). And we wish you more happy shooting in the coming year.

From all of us at View Finders…

I knew almost instantly that this is the photograph I wanted to share.  Not because it’s technically flawless (it’s not) but because it was one of my favorite image-making experiences of the year.  On the night of my daughter’s birthday, she asked me to take her picture.  Making this picture was unusual because:  A. I rarely shoot at night, B. my kids pretty much never ask me to take their picture, and C. it was a blue moon, meaning it was the second full moon of that month.  These unusual conditions resulted in the image above, and this photo will forever be dear to me.  It was a chilly evening and a breeze was blowing.  It was just the two of us out in the yard.  Talking, laughing.  Enjoying the hush and the beautiful light of the moon.  Definitely top of my list.

Phone, big camera, small camera, film, digital. What does it all matter when you are able to capture such a joyous moment as this?! I planned to make more portraits this year, and I largely succeeded. However, this is by far the most meaningful photograph I made this year, my sister and nephew sharing a lovely moment. I think he’d just put his finger into her nose or something silly 🙂 This little guy brought us so much joy this year. Here’s to many more! <3 – Chinwe

I took this photograph on January 1, 2018.  My husband and I usually take a brisk hike on New Year’s day, but the weather was frigid so we decided to drive along the shore and see the frozen waves, iced-in harbors, take some photos, and later to go for hot chocolate and a new year’s treat.  Our first stop was right around the corner at a spot where old wharves once stood.  As I jumped from the car to quickly take a photo, my husband pointed out this small sign tacked to a scrubby tree by the edge of the shore.  I quickly took a shot and jumped back into the warm truck.  Later that day I thought about the deeper meaning of this image.  We don’t know the reason that someone would tack up a positive little sign like this, but I want to think that it was to encourage us to all say YES to this life, on the first day of the year or the last.  Say YES to the important things, say YES I will make a difference, say YES I will be kind and compassionate, say YES I will love with all my heart, say YES I will help and hope, and finally, say YES, YES, YES, I am here on this earth, in this beautiful and sometimes broken place, and I will give it everything I’ve got.  —lucy

Rolleicord V | Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5 75mm | Fuji Pro 400

For my birthday this year, my husband gifted me a Rolleicord V. It is a light and easy to use medium format camera that I have been taking everywhere.  On one of my first trips out with the camera, I took Sam, my youngest daughter with me.  She was a willing model and completely her wonderful self.  When I got the images back, this image made me cry.  You see, this year was the first year Sam lived completely and honestly as herself- a gay woman.  It was beautiful to watch her change from nervous and fearful to confident and peaceful.  When I saw this image, I saw that assurance and self-love.  I saw her settled and okay with who she truly is.   The fact that the image was also captured with a new film camera was just icing on the cake. ~Staci Lee

When I looked at the forecast for the week, I saw that the temperatures were going to drop significantly and that day was the last warm day for the foreseeable future.  I had plenty of work to do and my to-do list was growing, but the leaves were starting to change and I had heard that the aspens were in high color up in the mountains.  I made the decision to scrap my to-do list and shirk all my adulting responsibilities for the day and play hooky with my camera.  I drove out past Boulder and up through the winding and treacherous roads until I was all alone on dusty trails.  I parked my car and tromped through the wilderness, enjoying the solitude and the smug feeling of avoiding work for a bit.  I took plenty of pictures of the leaves and the trees in focus and properly composed, but this image has stuck in my mind as representative of 2018.  A simple twist of the zoom while the shutter was open gives the feeling of action and energy and time racing past.  That’s how 2018 has felt for me – fleeting and hectic – months merging into each other and the year racing past at warp speed.  I’m glad I was able to take that day for myself because the following day it snowed and the temperatures dropped well below freezing. All the beautiful fall-colored leaves tumbled down in one fell swoop. – XO Angie

This year has been one of so many changes, as I knew it would be. My iPhone has helped me get through it all by being my companion throughout. And while many of my favourite photos this year are mobile pics (I’ve even been known to take the odd selfie!) I have occasionally remembered to take a film camera out and about with me to make those memories. This was one of those days. A perfect late summer’s day. Just me and my firstborn. It was a day to celebrate their name change from Ella to Tate. At the Tate Gallery in London, the gallery that opened the day they were born. And just a few weeks later, they left for university.


Sometimes life and work and fun intersect in just the most lovely of ways. That was this moment for me. We had all just walked in the door from the most awesome night of trick or treating, and I was feeling so full in my heart watching Raven be so super helpful and giving to Phoenix. For a brief second I thought oh will this be the last year this will happen, these two magical girls on this magical night helping each other like this? And then, Raven asked me to take one more picture of her in her costume as the girl with the pearl earring- her cheeks were rosy from the chilly air . I tilted the overhead light in our kitchen a bit to get more of a spot light effect and turned off the light in the dining room . And then I was back in this moment, enjoying, and being, and trading candy and laughing.  Audrey

A few years back my sister and I gave up gift exchanging and replaced it with short yearly getaway with our husbands. We rent a lovely place to stay in (often on the coastline of Oregon or Washington) and make no plans other than to just relax. Last year we spent four glorious days in Manzanita, Oregon. Because they are not dog lovers, per se, we usually leave our dog with someone for these trips. But last year something tugged at me so and I asked if we might bring our beagle, Basil. They both said sure. The weather was amazing for late February, and we all made the most of it with lots of long walks and beach combing. Even at ten, Basil was always up for a jaunt on the beach. Each night he fell into bed exhausted and happy. Little did we know that this would be his last trip to the beach. Since his death last May, I have spent hours pouring over photos of him and so I knew instantly just what photo I would use for my favorite photo of the year. This was taken on our first morning; the promise of a beautiful day, blue sky and a mostly empty beach. Xo. Cathy 

Today is my son’s birthday. Four years ago, at 3.15 am, he finally came into this world, after a very long labour. One of the things I will remember from this period when he is grown is his hands. From the tiny newborn hands that clutched my index finger (and how tiny the fingernails, and how terrified I was of cutting them) to his now much bigger but still small hands, which are never ever still, always doing their job of helping him figure out the world through the sense of touch. The hands that joyfully show me things, that put tiny pieces of lego together with the greatest of patience, the hand that holds mine so trustingly as we walk to kindergarten. ˜Jenny

So many times this year I have wanted to run and hide. From everyone and everything. Just to pause. To be still and silent where no one would need me. I do love that feeling when you blow out all the air in your lungs so you can sink to the bottom of the pool and just sit there. In the quiet stillness. While I always love capturing my kids in the pool, some images evoke that feeling of calm stillness more than others – perhaps why I love this one so. It’s also a lovely way to record how much longer my daughter’s legs are each summer; so bittersweet.  ~Tahnee

My favorite image this year takes me back to the city I grew up in and the summers I used to have with my siblings on the beach. It’s a film photo of the cousins (my brothers’ kids and one of mine). The more I look at it, the more I can see how timeless this image is. If I half close my eyes and look at it from a short distance, I feel it could be a photo of my brothers and me forty years ago, eating ice cream from the very same place we used to get ice cream too and feeling the exact same careless joy that summer always brings. Maite

So many of the photos I take that are memorable to me, whether they are with my big camera or my phone, become meaningful not because of the quality of the photograph, not because of my skill (or lack thereof), but for the feeling they elicit in me when I look at them later. I grew up in Canada and found solace on the shores of many lakes in Ontario. When I dream of “home”, lakes play a large part. In the over twenty years I’ve lived in Northern California, beaches haven’t replaced lakes in my heart, but I do find the same sense of belonging and healing when I spend time on them. On this day, we had returned from our summer holiday with family and were in that melancholic re-entry mode … wanting to still be far away, but grateful for the offshore breezes and beauty of the beach near our home. Husband beside me, dog digging a hole madly nearby, my daughter nestling into the warm sand, cool air on her back. If I close my eyes, I’m there. — kim

I made far fewer photos this year than in any since I’ve come to think of myself as a photographer, which you’d think might simplify the process of choosing my best or my favorite. Alas, this process is never an easy one for me.
I have a few realistic images that made my short list, a few abstractions, and this one, upon which I settled, possibly because of the way it splits the difference.
I hear the rhythm and feel the electric energy of New York City each time I look at this frame. My favorite pictures read like poems and engage a few senses at once. I think this image represents the closest I came to that elusive objective in 2018. – Debbie

I have to go with something personal.  I’ve created so much work for other purposes this year, and so much of it I love with all of my heart, but at the end of the day, I want to remember this fleeting moment with my boys captured during our final days in Sicily last summer.  Both had braces on their teeth, so I asked them to close their lips.  It makes them look so serious but believe me, they rarely are.  They are “hands-on” brothers; always wrestling or hugging.  They are also wildly different from one another, but I sense a growing admiration between them. I haven’t photographed them nearly enough this year, which makes this portrait a favorite I will treasure from 2018. — Deb

It’s one of those everyday kind of shots. I think I’ve probably peeked down or up a tube slide with my kiddos about 3,481 times this year. I think that’s probably why this one hits me. The vanishing point, the leading lines, the repeated circles, and my little guy’s face peering back up at me. He’ll turn five this coming spring and head off to kindergarten in the fall. I think that’s it, with this image. I think it’s that distance – him launching off, all smiles and excitement, ready to learn and grow and continue becoming his very own, unique, amazing and inspiring person. Here’s hoping, though, that he keeps looking back at me with those deep and beautiful eyes, even if it is from such a growing distance. —Alison

I joined my friend and fellow Viewfinder photographer, Debbie in an online class with Joel Meyerowitz this past year.  It happened to coincide with my family’s spring break trip and I relished the experience.  Waking up early to watch the lesson, loading my beloved Pentax k1000, and venturing out to see what I would find reignited all of the things that drew me to photography initially.  It felt joyful and liberating.  I felt connected to the world around me and aware of so much beauty.  Don’t think; just shoot.  It’s been one of my greatest lessons this year!  When I look at this photo, I remember sitting down on a beach chair and looking up to see this scene unfolding before me.  My heart skipped a beat and I reached for my camera.  Don’t think; just shoot.  So much beauty and serendipity in this world!   – Laura     

I couldn’t really say I have a favorite photo this year, but when i made my “short list”, I realized half the pictures I chose were of our dog, Major. (The others were mostly selfies taken with family and friends with a smattering of “this” and “that” thrown in.) Maj turned 13 this summer, so we’re cherishing every moment we have with him as they unfold. Even though he sleeps a lot more than he used to, he’s still quite spry and pulls me around on our daily walks…just no longer up the hill. He’s been awfully cuddly lately, getting in bed with me before I get up in the mornings, but most of the day while I’m working, you can find him sleeping on the couch. I often snap photos of him and then send them to my husband during the day, usually with a caption that says, “tough life” or “his latest position”, which is how I captured this one – one of my favs of the year – before he put his head back down and went to sleep…again. – Holly

We hope you’ve enjoyed our favorites!  Happy shooting for the rest of 2018…and keep going in 2019.  Love from all of us at ViewFinders.


  1. I enjoyed so much seeing your favorite shots. I have been following you for a while now and actually was able to recognize the photographer on some of them just by the photograph she chose! : ) Your collective work is lovely!

    • I love that you recognized some of the photographers just by the photograph, Grace!
      Thank you for your kind words…and thanks for being here!

  2. It’s a worthy task – to spend some time reflecting on our favorite pictures – to embrace the imperfections and go for the content, the feeling, the heart. In every one of these pictures with a paragraph, I see something of my own life, some art that might come my way if I only open my heart and see. Thank you for a whole year of inspiration and encouragement. I love every single image in the way only someone who pays attention can.

    • Thanks so much, Donna, for your kind words. I just hopped over to your blog and your post on this theme is so lovely! I loved reading your words and seeing that beautiful image you picked. Have a wonderful end-of-the-year!

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