Whether it’s a person, a building, or an abstract shape, show us something that exists harmoniously with its surroundings.

I love winter, but there’s something about this time of year that always feels clunky to me: all those layers. Watching for ice on the sidewalk. Keeping track of kids’ mittens and toques (a lost cause). Nature might be at its most minimalist — bare branches, pristine fields of snow — but, unless we’re trained figure skaters, we tend to navigate these landscapes far less gracefully than usual. (Disclaimer: I’m not a trained figure skater.)

Luckily, we have swans to inspire us.


Gracefulness is a tricky quality — it manifests itself as an effortless, subtle harmony between a subject and its environment. I took the photo above a few weeks ago at a seaside fish market in Richmond, British Columbia. There was a fun, messy element to the place: people shuffling about, seagulls excitedly circling fishing boats, fresh fish heaped on beds of ice shavings. The swans? They were there in the midst of the action, but you couldn’t tell by their comportment. Stately, elegant, but never stiff, they simply lounged in the water, enjoying some sun.

For this week’s challenge, share something that says “graceful” to you: from a couple dancing a smooth tango or a skyscraper soaring with ease above the skyline, to a leaf that dropped just so atop a moss-covered rock. You can focus on people, animals, architecture, or objects — or go for an abstract shot where the composition itself channels a fluid, streamlined essence.

I look forward to seeing your take on this theme!

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  1. It’s a thing of beauty watching the changing of the guards in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located at the Parliament Building on Syntagma Square in Athens. Each guard wearing his traditional kilt, red and black cap and Tsarouchia shoes exemplifies gracefulness and elegance in the performance of his duties.

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