The Making of “Uphill Battle”

posted in: Fine Art | 19

Over the next few months, I thought I would feature the stories behind some of my award-winning photographs. This one, titled “Uphill Battle,” was accepted into 2007 PPA International Print Exhibition.

Uphill Battle - Award-Winning Fine Art Photograph

The Making of “Uphill Battle”

This photograph looks like a well planned still life, but sometimes with a good eye, you can find nature photographs that have been arranged for you. Uphill Battle was one such fine art photograph. While in Arizona, visiting my grandparents, I was having a lovely time being outdoors in the warmth, searching for suitable subjects to photograph. After all, during the winter months, who doesn’t want to escape from the snow here in Michigan (once in a while)? Now, granted, my reasons for being in Arizona were more somber – my grandfather’s body was ridden with cancer, and he was in hospice. Shortly after our return, my grandfather passed away (his memorium). This image serves as a reminder of that for me. In fact, my grandfather was one of the people who inspired me to pursue photography, first as a hobby, then as a profession. I’ve shared a candid photo of him below.

Major McKinley AshAnyways, as dusk neared, this grasshopper was resting on one of the plants near my grandparents’ home. The background of this photograph, which I love the texture of, by the way, is simply the block fence in their backyard. Nothing spectacular, but with a creative eye and some on-the-fly planning, it serves as a vital element of the image.

Determination

“Uphill Battle” was given its name because, well, let’s face it. Sometimes life is tough. For people, for a grasshopper — it doesn’t matter. In this photograph, he is hanging onto a plant, resting before he resumes his efforts to survive. Life is a battle, and often it seems uphill. Often the challenges seem insurmountable. I’ve been at points in my life where I feel like there is too much on my plate to handle. Fortunately, grace gives me the strength to carry on. Life’s obstacles are a given, we can’t escape the rough spots. But, we can count on them to test us, to challenge us, to make us grow.

Throughout history, mankind has had a tenacity to hold on, to perservere.  Offhand, I can think of two similar proverbs that address this.  

  • “Fall down seven, get up eight,” – Japanese Proverb
  • “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” – Proverbs 24:16

No matter what, keep trying.  Never give up. Life isn’t a piece of cake. It is, more often than not, an uphill battle. And I’m so grateful to have wonderful people in my life to support me through the tough times. My husband. My parents and in-laws. My family. My friends. And last, but not least, my faith. Everyone has their way of dealing with life’s uphill battles — and everyone who is determined to not give up will find themselves a stronger person for it.

19 Responses

  1. Nicky @ Awesomeville
    | Reply

    What a gorgeous photo of the grasshopper!

  2. Ruthie
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    I love grasshoppers, though I used to shoot them with BB guns as a young child. That was just to keep them off of the food my father was growing. 🙂 Last year there was a rather green one outside on my potted plants. I shot him. With my DSLR! Haha. This image is brilliant… brings out the natural colors of the “guy,” and the name is clever too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Betsy Finn
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      So true… they can be pests if you are trying to grow produce. We’ve maintained a vegetable garden the past couple years and it’s interesting to see your perspective on certain critters change. While we enjoy watching the deer during the winter — last summer they were an annoyance, eating many of our tomatoes.

  3. Teresa
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    so true – I try to instill this in my kids everyday

    • Betsy Finn
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      🙂 Yes, it is an ongoing lesson to teach them, huh…

  4. kim at picking poppies
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    Your photo is beautiful…I love all things nature. But, today I needed a little pep talk, so I’m picking my walking stick back up, thank you!

    • Betsy Finn
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      Thank you! Walking always has a way of making the day seem better, I’ve found. Or maybe it’s getting out in nature. Possibly both.

  5. Kim Cunningham
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    Such a great image and encouraging story. So much of life is just like your analogy and we simply need to keep moving. Thank you for sharing with us today on Little Things Thursday.

    • Betsy Finn
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      Thank you; I enjoyed participating. It’s always fun to see what others share, to be encouraged and inspired while doing the same for others 🙂

  6. Katie
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    Love reading the stories behind photographs! Absolutely agree with you that the background texture makes this image. (Seen on Do Tell Tuesday.)

    • Betsy Finn
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      Thank you! While a picture is worth a thousand words, knowing the backstory almost always makes it more meaningful for me. Glad others feel the same way 🙂

  7. I agree with Katie, the photo is even all the more beautiful knowing the context of the story. While I love the grasshopper picture, the photo of your grandfather melts my heart. I’m so glad he encouraged your photography, you are very talented.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Victories Sunday, hope you share some more of your beautiful photos next week too!

    • Betsy Finn
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      Thank you – it was really tough to choose just a single photograph of him. There are so many aspects of an individual’s personality, and while I do my best in every portrait I create, it can be tough to really capture the epitome of a personality “on film.”

  8. Laura Hegfield
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    Beautiful image!

  9. Valerie, Australia
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    A marvellous capture Betsy, accompanied by some basic truths about our journey through life. One adage that I try to remember each day is that “We don’t stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing”. Combined with an attitude of gratitude for all my Creator has done – and continues to do – in my life, I pray that my time on this earth will be a blessing, not a curse, to others. Thank you for sharing your gifts – may you continue to do so for many years to come.

    • Betsy Finn
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      I love that quote, Valerie. It speaks volumes of the meaning of staying young at heart. Thank you for your kind words!

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