Do you know this word? Prosaic

About 4 years ago I came across a magazine called Seeing The Everyday.  Its tagline was “Nothing is really routine” and it focused on finding meaning in the everyday.  Its articles were a mix of quiet reflections, mindful observations, and gentle instructions on using everyday life to build relationships.  It taught me a new word: Prosaic.  Prosaic means commonplace or ordinary.  To quote the magazine, “Prosaic [is] a term coined by contemporary literary philosopher Gary Saul Morson to capture ‘a way of thinking about human events that focuses on the ordinary, messy, quotidian facts of daily life.'”  Ok, I guess I learned two words – quotidian means occurring every day.  The  Prosaic view of life seems connected to documentary family photography – they both recognize the value of routine, everyday things.

As I’ve learned more about photography and used it to capture the life of my family, I find myself wondering, “Should I take a picture of this?”  Part of documentary photography is capturing real, everyday life.  But of course I can’t take a picture of every single second.  I choose to take a picture when the feeling of the moment or the activity is something that I want to be able to remember.  In a way these moments are at the same time both prosaic and extraordinary.  These are the people that I love, living life, spending time learning and growing.  There’s really nothing ordinary about being alive, is there?

Girl reading book in playroom

Boy reading comic book at home

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