Prayer Flags - Doug Johnson

There are lots of things I like about photography.

I like how it influences the way I look at the world -- nudging me to be more aware visually (e.g. lights, shadows, colors, patterns) but also contextually (e.g. observing what people are doing and how they interact with others and the environment).

I also like how photography leads me in directions I had never given much thought. A current example is the concept of "safekeeping" -- how we keep ourselves and our loved-ones safe.

The word first stuck in my head after reading the eye-opening book "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates -- written as a letter to his teenage son on how to stay safe as a young black man in the United States. The more I think about safekeeping, the more interesting (and complicated) it becomes -- to the point where, as I mentioned last fall, I have started a "Safekeeping" project.

This week's photo shows prayer flags at the New England Peace Pagoda. Tibetans believe the mantras drawn on the flags will be blown by the wind to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags themselves may or may not be effective but the symbolic demonstration of hope for everyone's safety and well-being definitely counts as "safekeeping."


Prayer Flags

Prayer Flags


So far, I have ten images that I like and many pages of notes for "Safekeeping." As it's likely that this intriguing but unwieldy project is going to take a while, you'll be hearing a lot more about it as I figure out which aspects of "safekeeping" to focus on and how to pull together a coherent set of images.


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