After my face-to-face photography classes were forced online to aid with social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I assigned students to keep a daily gratitude journal.
My hope was students would take note of the positive things around them and be introspective while focusing on the myriad things they have to be thankful for during this historic time of self-isolating and sheltering in place.
I asked them to make at least one photograph each day and document their thoughts, observations and things they are thankful for. They were told they could photograph anything, including self-portraits, that revealed how they felt on a given day. But they must write and make at least one picture daily. The journal could be kept on paper, in a book or in an electronic document.
Since I am a believer in doing what I ask students to do, I have done the same. At the writing of this column, I am on day 21, with a plan to add to this through the first week of May, when the semester ends.
As I explained to my classes, each day—sometimes each hour—we choose what we see, hear and digest. During difficult times, we can choose to fill our heads and hearts with doubt and worry or with gratitude, counting our blessings, however they seem at times.
Studies have proven a grateful heart and thankful disposition are good for your health and lengthen life.
Use your camera and words to mark what is beautiful, what you are thankful for each day.
Here are a few questions I asked my students to consider answering in their daily gratitude journal, and that I challenge you to do: How do I feel today? What are my plans for the day? What pictures did I make, and why? What am I thankful for this day? What was the most beautiful thing I heard or witnessed today?
To respond to this challenge, and share your work, email your best image to firstname.lastname@example.org with a caption and photo credit. We will share the best submissions on our website or social media channels.