In Community
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Viewfinders Manifesto #5: We believe that while photography might be a solo pursuit, it is made much more enjoyable when practiced with the support of a community.

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Community is why each of us are here… sharing our photos and our stories and inviting you all to share yours with us through our guest posts or on instagram. Our Viewfinders “manifestos” cover a wide range of reasons for why we all pick up our camera on a daily (or perhaps monthly) basis. Sometimes we are chasing light, or narrowing our focus on the small and delicate, or widening our view of the world via travel or a walk through our neighborhood. Perhaps our daily routines at home or the family pet’s antics capture our interest. Whatever the impulse to press the shutter, the photos we make resonate with us for different reasons after the fact. We upload the photos, look at them with fresh eyes and a spark is lit within us. For this last post of 2019, we are all sharing our favorite photos from this past year.

We are grateful to all of you for coming along on our Viewfinders journey, and we wish you the warmest greetings of the season!

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When I perused my archives, I had many photos of family, wild weather visits to the beach, quiet meaningful moments, and even photos of my dog that were contenders for one of my favourite photos from this year. But this one kept popping up – a simple charcuterie board with some new and old friends in Paris last spring. Is it my absolute favourite? Maybe not. But it incorporates so many of my favourite things – food, travel, friendship, and most of all gratitude – all wrapped up in one image.


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It’s tricky to pick a favorite photo from any given year, but the image you see below is the one that popped into my mind first. Other images queued in my mind immediately after, but this one was first, and so I’m sticking with it.  This water. As I leaned over the railing. As I rode the ferry with my three, favorite people.  I love the feeling of movement, the contrast of dark and light, the subtleties in tone. I love that it reminds me of the ferry and my people.  I love the symbolism tucked into the image.  I also love remembering that my husband and kids were mildly freaked out about me leaning over the railing to make this picture (I’ve been known to drop things on occasion, ahem)…but, rest assured, my camera was secure around my neck and in my hands. And now I have this image to remind me of vacations and love and fluidity.  And I have it to share with you.

xo michelle

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This picture is Everything. I’m in my happy place (Sicily). On a boat. Trying new things (we even dived for these sea urchins so there’s that too!). And they were delicious. So much happy in one image.


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Much of last year was spent getting our home of 32+ years ready to sell. During the final stretch, when every day was spent packing, it felt like a giant roller-coster ride of emotions, and at the end of the day we were exhausted. Most days our sweet beagle Baker was ignored and scolded for helping too much. We took to taking him to the dog park most evenings, where we could relax, visit with other dog-minded folks, and he could play to his heart’s content. We would stay until the sun set on Mt. Rainer and then head home. This photo helps me remember that we did it! We packed up our home and took that giant step and moved, and I have not looked back. 

~ cathy

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My favorite photo from 2019 was born out of an idea that I had several years ago but had never taken the time to execute.  Every summer we travel to Michigan to spend time by the water and one of my favorite activities while we’re there is stand up paddle boarding.  I was out on the calm water one evening at sunset and noticed how the buoys reflected almost perfectly and I knew that I needed to have that photo.  I tried getting the shot with a waterproof camera a few years ago but it was too blurry and I was not brave enough to take my SLR onto the paddle board.  This summer I was determined to get the photo that I had imagined in my mind so instead of getting on the board, I borrowed my Aunt’s kayak, wrapped my camera carefully in a towel, and set out to get the shot.  It took me 4 tries on 3 separate days, but finally, after over 650 photos, I got the ONE that I had envisioned.


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We rarely call the shots with our vacations because they are often our only opportunities to see distant family. This year for the first time in many we were on our own, and we finally got the chance to show our kids Maine – a place we long loved from our travels there before becoming parents.
The state had taken on such epic proportions in our story-telling that I unnecessarily worried it wouldn’t live up to our hype.

We had a magical week despite mostly uncooperative and un-Maine-like weather. One evening after a wet and messy half-day hike we stumbled, dirty and famished, onto a lobster co-op in this idyllic bay for a sunset dinner. It was such a perfect finish to the day we somehow found ourselves there again – twice – at the end of our days’ adventurings.


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It was easy for me to choose my favorite photo from this last year. I took this photo while on vacation in Sicily with my husband. I captured it on my favorite camera, my Mamiya 645. She broke about three shots after this one. This photo, for me, represents my year. This last year held to much for my family and me. We had so many glorious days, but they were sprinkled with a few harsh and shocking days. Thankfully there were many more beautiful days. And the days I wish didn’t happen? Well, they reminded me how well and passionately my family loves each other.

Staci Lee

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Although I traveled far from home and explored some lovely places in 2019, my favorite photograph was made just a couple of miles from where I live. Along with the other kids, he asked me to take his photo, and as I lifted to camera to my eye, he stood silent and ready. Our interaction lasted only a few seconds. I am still always so amazed at the generosity of all those who stop to give me their time in front of my camera. I love the quiet smile on this little guy’s face, and he inspires me to live a life of generosity.

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2019 was a difficult year for my husband and me because we have two teens in the house and a very precocious ten year old. They are all growing so fast, as are the problems that come along with teenage hood. My older teen, in particular, has been difficult much too often this year and so many times we have felt so at a loss on how to parent him (and the other too as well)… This image reminds me that, despite his/our struggles, he is still a little boy at heart. Shot with my Pentax 67ii medium format camera and some Psychedelic Blues.

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I am lucky to live in a beautiful village on Cape Cod, just steps from the ocean and surrounded by woods and fields. Because of that we get to see a lot of wildlife in our neighborhood — foxes, deer, raccoons, the occasional coyote, possums, skunks, songbirds, hawks, herons, and more. But the most interesting (and probably most invasive) are the wild turkeys. They travel mostly in flocks (or gangs, as some call them), and a pair of turkeys can sometimes produce 20 or more babies in a season. They make the rounds among the neighbors’ yards, looking for the best birdseed, bugs, and other morsels to feast on. Last month as I was making my way home from my evening walk, I noticed a flock of turkeys in the road, taking turns flying onto a neighbor’s roof, which made it easier for them to fly up into a nearby tree for their nightly roost. They made quite a sight as the sun was setting, and they patiently waited their turn to go to bed.

lucy xxoo

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Early this year I needed a project to jump-start my photo practice, so I committed to the #100dayproject with a daily photo of clouds. I fully intended to use my Fuji mirrorless camera for this project; but I soon found that many of the best cloud opportunities came to me when I only had my trusty iPhone in my bag! This shot was one of many I took on an evening when the sky put on truly stunning display. I stood out on my mom’s driveway and just clicked away. It was one of the most breathtaking skies I’ve ever seen!


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To try and choose a favorite photo for 2019, I scrolled through my Lightroom gallery of images taken on my iphone through mid-October that have been uploaded so far this year, and created a “2019 Fav Photo” collection. What I found after I’d compiled my “shortlist” was a selection of moments snapped off here and there, mostly unplanned, many of them selfies, but almost all of them of or taken with my family, friends or my dog, Major. There was the odd nature shot or landscape of my neighborhood throughout the seasons, but by and large – the many faces of Maj notwithstanding – I’d highlighted moments spend with loved ones. Finally, I settled on this celebratory moment to represent them all, taken with my Mom while enjoying a martini in upstate NY in my new dress (a gift from mom, of course) on a beautiful spring evening “from where I stand.”

~ Holly

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When I started thinking about which image to pick for today’s post, this one sprang to mind immedately. In other words the choice was easy, especially now that we are in the middle of Winter: this image speaks of the way I want to remember my son’s childhood summers – sunlight, warmth and fun playing in the water.

~All the best from Jenny.

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I’ve written about these family photos before, but every time we come to the end of another year, I can’t help but be pretty proud that we’re still keeping it going. Every month since we learned I was pregnant with our oldest we have done family portraits in the same spot in our backyard. There was a fair bit of change this year, but it was kind of that subtle change where things morph toward a different normal. I’m looking forward to what 2020 will bring – I’m hoping for some excellent adventures and loads of laughter.

All the best, Alison

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Just one? Really? It’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. While there are a handful of photos from 2019 that I will happily return to again and again, this photo, The Red Dress, Goss Lake, is perhaps the one I am most proud of. Captured in October on a secluded lake on an island near Seattle. My dear friend, Tohnia, said yes without hesitation when I asked her to don a red dress and swim in the cold, dark water at sunset. I am on the dock — rare for me to not be in the water — giving her pointers on how to position her body and the dress. I captured hundreds of photos that night, but this one held a certain magic in the tones and composition. It’s a photograph I have spend hours perfecting in print and one that I will remember fondly as it marks a shift in style for me — from finding (in the street photography) to constructing (in my conceptual photography). It has a permanent home in a series called Side By Each Facing the Sun, and I am excited to see where else it will go in the world.


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A weekend away with my husband to one of our favorite cites is one of my favorite memories of 2019. Wandering Chicago with him, my camera, and new roles of film from Psychedelic Blues was delightful! This film was new to me and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I love this image because it reminds me of slipping away into a little wine bar during the golden hour. Afterward, we had the best meal at a cozy little French restaurant. Cheers to weekends away and new film stock!