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. Hello Ben
    An action that is graceful to me has to be difficult but look or sound simple, effortless, and natural. The first two actions I thought that are graceful to me are singing and dancing. Tori Kelly singing hallelujah is so peaceful, soulful, smooth and graceful. Her voice is so natural and without making too much of an effort, she can hit the notes perfectly. Adele is also another singer that is very elegant and her singing is so effortless. Matt Steffanina’s dancing is so on point. His movements are so natural and dances perfectly with the rhythm. It was very nice to read your blog and think of something I don’t really think of everyday.


  2. hey Ben, for me grace and elegance lie in the walk of ducks, stares of a leopard, rhythm of rain drops, music on violin and in the kindness of men.


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