A Year of Giving

January 01, 2019  •  8 Comments

Not to sound like an old out of touch fart, but more and more I think social media is having a devastating effect on the things that are important to living a meaningful life.  Many people are becoming increasingly addicted to the trivia and deceptions served up in boatloads by these false gods. 


The speed with which social media moves makes it impossible to dedicate any amount of time and effort to something serious.  Our aspirations have become about how to best portray an idealized version of our life to others in the shortest amount of time.  We are in a constant battle of deceit trying to convince both ourselves and others about how meaningful our lives are when the reality amounts to little more than creating meaningless selfies or posting outrageous statements on Facebook or Twitter.

Viktor Frankl is quoted as saying “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”  In our relentless pursuit of faster and shallower bits of trivia, I fear we are missing out on the very core of humanity which ought to be about personal growth through a life of meaning.  Pablo Picasso said “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”  He was right in two ways.  First, life is about meaning and not happiness.  Meaning will sustain you through hard times whereas happiness will suffer on your first encounter with an unhappy moment.  Second, giving away the fruits of your labor is one of the most rewarding things we can do not only because it validates what we do but also because for most people it is more satisfying to give than to receive.  But, if your time is mostly spent looking at, and possibly becoming envious of, the unrealistic lifestyle portrayed by your social media “friends,” you will have little time and energy left for personal growth through the cultivation of a rich and meaningful life.


Week 01Week 01

I for one am fed up with this ugly trend and although I am unlikely to affect changes on a scale necessary to create lasting meaningful changes to all of humanity I can at least do something for a close circle of friends – and hope the effort will not go unnoticed.  As part of a year-long project, I am going to, every week print and mail, using the regular postal service, one of my photographs to seven people around the world.  I do this, not only to reach out, and connect in a way which is both more personal and meaningful but also in the hope, they, in turn, will do something similar to their friends.

Winston Churchill once said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”   I could not agree more, and I undertake this project fully aware that for many people who receive one of my limited print photographs that will be the end of it.  However, I also know that I will derive much joy from giving these works away without any strings attached.  I do not want people to feel obligated to return the favor in any way whatsoever – I truly expect nothing in return.

If you would like to see the images I am sending each week you can follow the project in this gallery 

Also, if you can think of someone who you would like me to send a photo to, even yourself if you have not received one yet.  Go to my contact page and send me a message with the name and postal address of the person you would like me to send a photo to.  You can find my contact page here Refer a Friend






this is beautiful
Paradoxica Institute(non-registered)
Well I love the pictures you have shared with us and really compelling blog you have posted.
I hope that you have considered preparing a coffee table book with all 52 of your pictures and the story behind each of them along with some of the reactions/responses to your pictures! The pictures are beautiful.
What a beautiful idea. Made me realize that I can't even remember the last time I held a photo in my hand.
Gina M(non-registered)
Wonderful I often (perhaps too much) say the fun of taking pictures back a few decades ago was the surprise picking them up at places like Blacks etc.. Good through the album of pictures from the 20s onward with whichever family made a note connects. Digital cameras have never caught on with me. No surprise and they are no longer people getting together to look at the vacation pictures etc. There's an episode of the show "Friends" when they are looking at real printed pictures of Ross' newborn. Note people talking to each other and not a smart phone to be seen either in New York City. Reading a book is the same way. Without the book in my hands, it would just feel like reading a notice at the office. One dimensional and cold. One more example of holding a picture is the glee my relatives and friends went about because I sent post cards. I wasn't uploading anything on social media. Getting a post card from overseas is definitely a rarity. It starts conversations, it's on the fridge, it's just physically there and so many reactions especially from the Y generation onward. I'm sorry if this is too long but yeah someone put it out there so well. Thank you.
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