A New Lens

Back in college I had an amazing professor who took me under his wing and taught me many amazing things. One of the ideas that he gave me that has stayed with me ever since and has affected me in many ways is the idea that we can change what we read by what lens we read in through. He explained that when he reads a book he first decides what lens he wants to wear. Is he reading it as a professor? As a husband? As a dad? As a runner? As a student? When we choose a different lens, the material—and the way it impacts us—changes.

It was a life-changing discovery for me. Through the years I have read with many different lenses and it is amazing to see how the same words can impact in me in different ways.

What about applying this principle to our photography and scrapbooking?

Let’s face it. There are some activities where you feel obligated to bring your camera and yet inwardly you cringe thinking, “Another set of photos from the zoo!?!”

If there are things that you do often and have many pictures of, it can sometimes be hard to scrap them. Because to be honest, we don’t need 10 different zoo pages from 10 different times going to the zoo. Or the playground. Or on a walk. Or playing the yard. And yet, there is another part of us that is eager to capture each moment in our lives so that by chance, we can hold onto the memories forever.

A few nights ago, our family was at a local park and we were grilling burgers for dinner. This is something we do often. I usually bring my camera and so I was sitting there, itching to take pictures. And yet, I knew that there are only so many ways to photograph us grilling in the park. I don’t need 20 park pages in my albums and so I started thinking about what I could do. As I sat there watching my family devour the piles of watermelon my husband was cutting, it dawned on me. If I want to breathe new life into an “old” activity like going to the park, I need to a new lens. Not a new lens for my camera, but a new lens for my eyes.

I needed to look at a normal activity that we do on a regular basis and see it through a different lens. I needed to choose a perspective from which to view everything else. It could have been anything, really, but as I watched the watermelon juice drip down my children’s arms, I decided to focus on that yummy goodness.

And so I started snapping away, focusing on just one aspect of our time at the park.


It’s yummy. It’s sweet. It’s messy. And it’s oh-so-beautiful.

The fun thing in this is that it gave me a way to see a regular activity in our lives in a new way. It gave me inspiration for new photos and for a new way to document our lives. Rather than a general “we went to the park” page, I was able to create something more specific, with more of an interesting tidbit of the details of our lives. Because the truth is, we eat a lot of watermelon.

What about you? How do you photograph and scrap photos of activities that you do on a regular basis?