Lens-Artists Challenge #169 – The Ordinary

flowers, hand
Given With Love

“Quit trying to find beautiful things to photograph. Find the ordinary objects that you can transform by photographing them.”

Morley Baer

This week our guest host I.J. Khanewala asks us to focus on the ordinary – and perhaps as Mr. Baer suggests – make them extraordinary. I’ve opened with a simple offering of flowers by a small child. It is the act of kindness and love one feels in the gesture that makes this an image-worthy moment.

I See the Light

“I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.”

Trent Parke

Sometimes as photographers we work to turn ordinary objects into art by using technique. Can you guess the subject of the image above captured with my out-of-focus lens?

shoes, red, blue, yellow, primary colors
Shiny Shoes

“If reality fails to fill us with wonder, it is because we have fallen into the habit of seeing it as ordinary.”


Crocs, as they’re commonly known, are about as ordinary as a thing can be. Yet if we find them thrown together in a big pile, and we see all of the colors of the rainbow clustered together, does it not turn the ordinary into the extraordinary?!

onions, vegetables
Tears Ahead

“The most interesting photography observes what most of the world ignores and dismisses as dull or too ordinary.”

Anna Fox

I was drawn to a simple farmers market display of onions in the image above. Some might call them ordinary – I found them beautiful with their colorful jackets and blonde hair 😊

beach chairs, blue, stacked
Summer’s End

“If photography is about anything, it is the deep surprise of living in the ordinary world….By focusing on the small and the unexpected…the photographer reminds us that the actual world is full of surprise, which is precisely what most people, imprisoned in habit and devoted to the familiar, tend to forget.”

John Rosenthal

The stacked chairs in my closing image serve as a reminder that summer has ended and our many visitors have returned to their primary homes. For me it is the most beautiful of times. The weather is perfect, the beach is a solitary, peaceful haven, our birds are again comfortable that they will not be disturbed, and soon our sweetgrass will bloom in its autumn splendor.

What an interesting challenge I.J. has given us this week! I have no doubt we will see an amazing variety of images, each with their own special meaning. Be sure to link your responses to I.J.’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to appear in our reader section. Sincere appreciation to all who responded to last week’s “Seen Better Days” challenge. I believe we’ve proven beyond a doubt that photographers do indeed love to focus their lenses on the beauty to be found in old, dilapidated places and things. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Patti brings us challenge # 170. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

83 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #169 – The Ordinary

  1. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-169-The-Ordinary – WoollyMuses

  2. Your images always are something to behold, I always do a little daydreaming with them – and you always have a great quote (or three) which match the mood: “Quit trying to find beautiful things to photograph. Find the ordinary objects that you can transform by photographing them.” How many times these days I do not take the camera out because I believe I will not find anything beautiful to shoot… and that is not the attitude to have 🙂 Find and make beauty with what’s around you – a great way to approach many things in life. Great post, Tina, and continue to shine. 🙂

    • So happy you appreciated that quote Randall, I felt the same way when I saw it, and often feel as you do about not finding anything special. Sometimes we just have to kick ourselves in the butt and get on with it LOL! Appreciate as always your visit and comment.

  3. I call these photos of singular beauty focused. The five petal flower, the primary colours, the purple hairy onion and vertical lines. Tina, you are right, about making the ordinary extraordinary.

  4. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #169 – The Ordinary – A.J"s WORLD THINGS.

  5. Very creative, Tina – just love your choices! You turn the ordinary into more than extraordinary – even to spectacular. If i must choose a favourite, it will be tears ahead…

    • Glad you enjoyed these Ann-Christine, and thank you for the lovely compliment. Tears ahead seems to be this week’s runaway favorite. We never know that will strike a chord do we?! One of the things I love about blogging.

  6. GREAT photos and perfect quotes as always. I will skip the ‘that’s a croc’ and ‘blondes have more fun’ jokes. Are those traffic lights in the abstract? Great post regardless, not to be trifled with.

  7. Oh, these are perfect photos for the theme! You really do demonstrate that as photographers we can find a way to turn the ordinary into a striking image, just by taking the time to look and to compose 🙂 Shall I try to choose a favourite? I don’t think so – except maybe the onions???

  8. Very creative interpretation of the challenge, Tina. Brilliant perspective with your images as always. What is ordinary is not always just ordinary, but often much meaning behind it. Nothing is ever too small to be insignificant. Looking at the stacked chairs I thought, hmmm the party is over. Reading your words, now I see there were people having a good time not too long ago, enjoying the summer and now you have great weather and quiet times ahead 🙂

  9. Hi Tina
    I felt a bit of a smile to read the sweet grass will be in bloom – because it reminded me how we get to know some tidbits about our blogging friends as we connect over the years – because I can picture some past images you have shared

    Anyhow – wondering if those were real crocs or knock off brand? And they did look so interesting in the pile like trust! And followed the previous bokeh circles quite nicely

      • Yeah – and inner they get the job done!
        The other day I grabbed a photo go two pair of crocs outside the yoga room – I grabbed the pick because they were so designed – and not the plain we usually see – and also amazes me at how many folks love these and as your photo shows – it is global

  10. You have put together wonderful examples of the beauty in ordinary things. I like the photo you lead with, because the child’s attention to ordinary wild flowers transforms them to a thing of grace and beauty. Is the second photo of lights being refracted through water droplets? Beautiful abstract. There’s beauty in single things, but a multitude thrown together creates a different kind of beauty, manufactured plastic things, farm produce, or stacked chairs signalling the end of a season.

  11. I always enjoy reading your thoughts and quotes as well as liking/loving your photos, Tina. I like all of these but the onions and lights really catch my eye this week. I love the colors of the Crocs as well although I don’t care for them personally (Crocs, not the colors.) 🙂


    • I so agree with you re the crocs Janet – I think they look terribly uncomfortable and clumsy. But their fan base seems to love them! Glad these captured your imagination, much appreciated.

  12. What a wonderful photographic eye you have, Tina. Just lovely images and so well observed. I love the child’s hand, especially, and the onions. You’re right about their purple jackets and blonde hair! The beach chairs do convey the end of summer. Great choices for the challenge! I hope your sweetgrass will soon appear and that you’re delighting in the change of season. Enjoy!

    • Thanks so much Patti – our grasses are indeed turning their beautiful pinkish purple color. Hopefully I’ll find a use for them on this seasons posts. Many thanks for the “photographic eye” comment, like you I love seeing and shooting the things others may not have noticed.

  13. I have never heard of onions described as ‘with blonde hair.’ Gosh, I love that! What was the out-of-focus image? I think the bokeh by itself is beautiful.

  14. So many ordinary things can become so much more when looked at through a camera lens. Your onions are so lovely! And what a description. May we all continue to transform those ordinary objects.

  15. What a wonderfully creative post… seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary … looking for the best in all things… only you could take that bunch of purple onions and see them dressed in jackets and blonde hair….. thanks for reminding me to see all things and people thru more positive lens…..❤️

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