Photo Blogging Challenge – Express Yourself (January 2017)

The Photo Blogging Challenge is itself a threefold exercise in self expression:

  1. articulation of thoughts through writing/blogging;
  2. portrayal of feelings and views through photographs; and
  3. declaration of belonging, to the community of PBC participants.

Long-time participants in the Photo Blogging Challenge have been expressing themselves for almost four years. It can be hard to keep things fresh and interesting over such a long period, so I look forward to seeing how creatively participants communicate this month.

The beginning of the month was a good time to reflect on the ways I convey my worldview, ideas and feelings.

In terms of appearance, the most obvious thing is probably my unspoken declaration of WYSIWYG, evidenced by the striking, natural, silvery stripe of hair that grows either side of my part line and frames my face. Since I’m wearing a hat in the only selfie I took this month, you can’t really see it, so there’s no picture here.

When it comes to daily activities, a consistent, non-verbal way I demonstrate care to the people I love is through cooking. In my binder full of favourite recipes, many pages are carefully marked with notes of safe substitutes for allergens. In addition to preparing most our our meals from scratch, I make time for baking at least once/week. Double-chocolate zucchini cake is a family favourite.


A seasonal and subtle way of expressing myself is through gardening. I choose bee and butterfly-friendly flowers (even if the pollinators have to share them with the deer and rabbits). I strongly prefer perennials or self-seeding annuals so that I don’t have to throw out dead plants each fall. I am pretty tolerant when things spread and I like our hedge to grow naturally instead of trimming it three or four times/year. Thinking about it now, I guess I’m trying to create a little patch of wilderness in the city. Gardening’s trained me to notice bits of wild things wherever I go, like this frosted stalk of grass I spotted while walking.

Frosted grass

There’s a channel of self-expression that we freely enjoy as children. Usually abandoned by the time we reach our teenage years, adults who rediscover it have a guaranteed creative outlet. It’s play!


Whether you do it, love it or hate it, graffiti is a widespread form of self-expression. I find it irritating when someone tags everything in the neighbourhood just because they can. But some graffiti artists are hired by city planners to beautify concrete supports and barriers. Some, like Banksy, are political activists. And some just have a simple message they want to share with anyone passing by.


My current favourite form of creative expression is photography. While a lot of the images I make are “realistic” representations of what I see, I have way more fun when I practice more unusual techniques (long exposures, double exposures, zoombursts or other forms of intentional camera movement) or when I come up with a different perspective that turns something familiar into something that’s not. Here’s one of my favourites from this month, made by positioning my phone camera so that a small section of a New Year’s ice sculpture was in front of a colourful background some distance away.


Over the last 10 days or so, events like the January 21st Women’s March and more widespread airport demonstrations in the US have prompted me to think more broadly about the concept of self-expression. I am privileged to live in Canada, where freedom of expression is protected in section 2 of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And I am grateful that I have the right to hold opinions and to share information and ideas through any media. I wish that for every citizen of the world.

Please visit A ‘lil Hoohaa to learn how other participants expressed themselves. And if you’d like to share how, when, where and why you choose to express yourself, please leave a comment!

7 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – Express Yourself (January 2017)

  1. It’s like you had me at double-chocolate zucchini cake, but then just kept going. I love your writing and your photography and it’s always a joy to see what you’ve come up with. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your description of our PBC theme this month. All your images every month are always brilliant and I feel that your photos for this month have shown just how good you are at using your photography to portray your conceptual ideas. I love graffiti too and agree that sometimes its annoying, but when an street artist composes for the environment and a concept in mind, then I think then its great. I especially like the frosted grass and ice sculpture. Brilliant photos x

  3. I am almost speechless… these photos are nothing short of amazing. Absolute art. And I love how you described everything. The last one is stunning. I think my favorite is the gardening. They are just wonderful!

  4. You certainly put a lot of thought into your selections. I’d like to express myself with a fork after seeing your cake! That last shot might make an interesting photo texture. I’ve been mulling over a blog post about the recent protests and marches. Everything in the US right now is so contentious on both sides. I wish people would self-express with more objectivity and rational thought. Anyway, thanks for popping over to my place early. Hope your week is going well.

    1. So far, so good this week. I went back and forth about whether to include that last paragraph about freedom of expression in the context of the rapidly changing US governance landscape. In the end, leaving it out seemed tone deaf. I agree that more objectivity and rational thought are needed on all sides. If you decide to go ahead with a blog post, I’ll be very interested to read it.

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