"We started with the belief that the act of creation—photography, in this case—is an act of hope," wrote Alice Rose George and Lee Marks in their introduction to Hope: Photographs, a collection of about 100 photographs that these editors selected for their ability to convey something about hope. The book also includes essays by Robert Coles, Reynolds Price, and Lionel Tiger.
From the essay by Reynolds Price: "An ability to ignite and cultivate hope in our lives must be consciously taught to hopeless creatures and carefully learned by them, and its presence must be constantly invoked in every human life. For hope is born and dies by the moment, even in the most focused and optimistic mind. That’s why one of the hardest tasks of a parent, a kinsman, a friend, or a sworn mate lies in the unceasing duty to pass on to younger or frailer creatures an undiscouragable taste for hope, “the desire and search for a future good.” [quoted from The American Heritage Dictionary definition of hope] No one can rest in maintaining that taste in himself.”
And a few pages later in the same essay: “…the gift of hope demands that we hand that same gift on to our fellows.”
The editors made the point that while there's so much in our corporate awareness to cause despair or an absence of hope (the book was published in 1998), the reality is that we consistently seek and document that which is hopeful. When we start paying attention, hope, of many varieties, is everywhere.
On the book's pages there's a photograph of Apollo 11 blasting off on its mission to the moon; there's a black-and-white photograph of a couple dressed in street clothes dancing on a dirt road next to a barbed wire fence; there's a photograph of a tailor sewing on a sewing machine outdoors in a Rwandan refugee camp. There's a photograph of a young couple sitting in a bar or cafe in a spotlight of sunshine and another of an older woman smiling with her eyes closed as someone combs her hair and another of a gravesite with a picket fence marking its perimeter, planted sunflowers growing inside.
What photograph have you taken lately that speaks of hope? I don't often open the comments section but I'd love to hear your response or thoughts.
[Photo: taken of a couple tiny stone pillars someone had built and left on the shore. An image of hope, yes?]