Photography as a way to savor life

Every photo reminds us of all the beauty around us.

Sunset along the Arno in Florence, Italy — Melinda Gallo

Anaïs Nin wrote, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” I can say the same about photography. The first time I experience beauty, the moment is intense and richly satisfying to all of my senses. The second time is more like an echo: it doesn’t stimulate all my senses to the same extent as it did originally, but I’m able to savor that moment for much longer.

Every day in Florence I bask in my surroundings: I walk along the Arno, delight in the sights, smells, and sounds around me, catch sunrises and sunsets, stroll through the streets and piazzas, peruse the churches and museums, visit the gardens, and glance up at the sky to admire the clouds. I need not run after beauty; I only need to stop and embrace it.

I might see beauty with my eyes, but I feel beauty with my entire body. The effect that beauty has on me is so strong that it cascades through my heart, mind, and soul. Beauty has a way of uplifting me and my energy like nothing else. Every time I am exposed to beauty, I am reminded that my ability to experience it is relative to the extent to which I am open to experience it. When I see little beauty around me, I know it’s because I am not open to it.

I delight in the details of the beauty around me, particularly the light, shadows, colors, reflections, and textures. It’s interesting how sometimes it is only in the photo I notice certain details. It makes sense, however, because the present moment is continually shifting and therefore what I noticed only a minute before has already changed.

As soon as I notice something beautiful, my heart beats faster. I want to embrace the moment as fully as possible and hold it in my heart. I believe that’s why I enjoy taking photos of the beauty I experience. It’s so I can savor that single moment and hold onto it for as long as possible.

No matter where I am, I navigate my way with an open heart. I know that beauty surrounds me and that it’s up to me to perceive it. I understand that the more I appreciate the beauty around me, the more beauty I’m presented with. In Florence, I have learned to take time out of my day to open myself to her beauty. It’s such a gift for me to not only see the beauty, but to feel it.

I used to take photos only for myself, but now I find great joy in sharing my photos with others. It’s a way of reminding myself and others how important it is for us to take more time to appreciate the beauty around us every day.

Expat in Florence, Italy | Fiction & Non-Fiction Writer | Blogger | Polyglot (English, French, & Italian) | Hapa | Instagrammer | www.melindagallo.com

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