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Toronto, ON, January 2009
About this photo: All week long, we've been taking a look back at our favorite pics of the past year as part of Thematic Photographic's 2009 - The Year That Was theme. If you've got one you'd like to share, please go here. Later tonight - at 7:00 p.m. EST, in fact - we'll launch the next TP theme, What I did on vacation.This is not a picture for the annals. Taken with my wife's old, battered camera on a bitterly cold January morning as I walked from one meeting to the next, I doubt it's the kind of photo that deserves a viewing beyond me, the dog and maybe the next Jehovah's Witness who shows up at my door.
Still, it's hung around the fringes of my archives for the past year, and every time it pops up onscreen, I find myself staring at it intently. I think that's because it's the kind of scene we tend to ignore in our pursuit of the big and the grand, the kind of picture that never shows up in a tourism bureau brochure, a frame over the fireplace mantel or even a YouTube video.
But I guess that's the point of both this picture, this blog entry and, if we're keeping score, of the entire year: It isn't about what plays big. It's about what plays small, what no one else is seeking, what jazzes you, what keeps hanging around the fringes of your own world. Because when you get to the end and look back, it's the small things that seem to stand out more than anything else. I am reluctantly learning to appreciate this sad truth more intensely with each passing day.
For the coming year, I hope you'll consider doing what I've challenged myself to do: Look for more overlooked places like this and consider focusing on them a little more closely. They may be hidden where we least expect it, and we may not always have the tools on-hand to fully appreciate why they're special. But at least we'll smile and reflect every time we look back.
Your turn: Look closely at the picture. Now imagine yourself walking to the right. What's there?