Capturing Gratitude with Kari Cadenhead
After a truly inspiring month of photographing and sharing gratitude photographs, I’m so pleased to bring you the first of a series of interviews with gratitude photographers.
I’d like to introduce you to Kari Cadenhead……..
Lauren: Tell me a bit about yourself Kari.
Kari: I am an artist, seamstress and mother to an incredible three-year-old boy. I am also a military spouse and have spent several years overseas, which was of course awesome.
Lauren: Why did you decide to join capturing gratitude?
Kari: I went through a kind of strange period (after recently moving back to the US) where I felt a lot of negativity coming from the world, specifically my acquaintances and coworkers. I was sympathetic towards others’ issues, but I couldn’t see how each person could truly not see how fortunate they were on a day-to-day basis. At one point I was made to feel guilty for sharing a positive outlook, which really reverberated throughout the rest of the times I felt thankful, even when kept to myself. A friend of mine saw me struggling with this and suggested I join in order to ‘surround’ myself with people who feel the same as me and are just trying to see the positive even in low moments.
Lauren: Tell me about one (or more) of the gratitude photographs you took during November for Capturing Gratitude.
Kari: The last one I used was a photo of my best friend’s kitchen. It was during a quiet moment after breakfast in a very chaotic couple of weeks. I have not spent much time here in the past because I lived so far away, but this and last week I was able to participate fully in her family’s life, with my son included. I am not here for fun, but to lend a hand during a very scary time. Even with less than ideal circumstances, I couldn’t imagine a better place to be than right here and now. Standing in her kitchen after taking care of ‘our’ family was really one of the most rewarding moments for me.
Lauren: How was this month for you? Did photographing the things you were grateful for change your life in any small (or not so small) ways?
Kari: This month was long and unexpected, and this project was really special to me throughout. I’ve taken photos of the small things for so long, but it was really nice to share them, and especially to see others’ photos and moments of gratitude. It gave me a brighter outlook on how people all around the world see life, which in turn made me feel MORE thankful for all the daily joys. It strengthened my resolve to keep looking for the positives. It pushed me to really sit in a situation and feel all the emotions until I found something to be thankful for, instead of just recording all regular ol’ good stuff that happens and glazing over the bad stuff.
Lauren: What role will gratitude play in your life from here on in?
Kari: Thankfully, the same role it has played for the past several years, to a greater extent. I was almost ready to keep grateful thoughts to myself, but sharing them really does bring joy to others, and it breeds more good thoughts. A positive, grateful attitude is contagious most days. I have also made a pact with myself to be grateful for the things I wouldn’t normally be for. Gratitude can teach you lessons and I intend on learning as many as possible.
Lauren: Here’s your opportunity to share something close to your heart with, be it your business, your art, your poetry, your favourite cause or a charity. The stage is yours……..
Kari: I am one half of a budding venture called the Art Barn Project. My half stems from a blog I started several years ago to record our stay in Germany, my family, and art (www.artofthecow.blogspot.com). It will be ever-evolving, but my focus is currently on reaching out and uniting communities based on art and self-sufficiency, such as trying to get involved in teaching sewing, crocheting and knitting classes at women’s shelters, getting supplies to them, and affording them an avenue to sell their goods for extra money.
Lauren: Thank you so much much Kari. It was really lovely seeing your photographs in November, and to meet you here.
All photographs in this post by Kari.
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