Through The Lens Thursday #4: White

posted in: Photography, Through The Lens Thursday 74 comments

Through The Lens Thursday is a one-year photography project, where every week, my project partner, Greta of GFunkified and I, will post a picture (or pictures) we have taken based on a prompt. Our hope is that together, we can teach and learn from each other, stay accountable to our goal of improving our skills, and hopefully, be taking some gorgeous photographs. 

A photography project

This week’s prompt is “White”.


Taken with a Canon EOS Rebel SL1
1/40, f/1.8, ISO 100

White. The absence of colour. It is empty, yet it fills spaces. It is harsh and can be stark.  

Yet, it lightens up a room. It brings out other colours. It highlights everything else around it. Its absence brings presence. It brings clarity to a picture. If that makes any sense.

I found it incredibly hard to photograph. To bring out the whiteness, to make it the main feature, without it er, whitewashing the entire picture. 

It was also incredibly hard not to be obvious. Pictures of things that are already white (examples are snow, clouds) are so dull. To me anyway. Also, we don’t have snow here. Or hardly any clouds.

Anyway. I was sitting at a tea shop on my own on Sunday, taking some valuable me time. To just be. To sip my tea and eat some cake. To read a good book. 

To snap some pictures. 

It was as peaceful as it looked.

There was clarity and it wasn’t obvious. If you’re not getting the analogy I’m trying to make between white and life….

…’s okay. I don’t either.

(What do you think of my ‘white’ photo? This IS a photography exercise, so I would appreciate any critique!)

Next week’s prompt: Reflection

For the full list of prompts, check out my Through The Lens Thursday page. If you’d like to join Greta and I, but not necessarily blog your picture, join our Flickr group, where we upload our photos, and give comments, or helpful critique on each other’s photographs.

What does white mean to you?

Comment on any two posts on my blog in January, and stand a chance to win one 30-day 150×150 sidebar ad! Find out more here.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

Latest posts by Alison (see all)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • January 23, 2014 tracy

    So hard to photograph indeed. I am so loving this weekly exercise.
    tracy recently wrote…117th Avenue NortheastMy Profile

    • February 7, 2014 Alison

      I’m so glad you’re loving it. I am too!

  • January 23, 2014 Kerstin

    I love how the different white areas in the picture are not all the same “sharpness” (probably the wrong word, but I have no English photography vocabulary…).
    Also: I think I want a DSLR…
    Kerstin recently wrote…5 Rules for SuccessMy Profile

    • February 7, 2014 Alison

      Yes! It’s because of the small f/ stop I used. 🙂

  • January 23, 2014 Tamara

    I’m shaking my head over the settings you used. You must have such a steady hand!! That’s awesome.
    Tamara recently wrote…Wherever I May Roam.My Profile

    • February 7, 2014 Alison

      I hold my breath!!

  • January 23, 2014 Allie

    I bet it was hard to chose – and a part of me wished I didn’t know the word, because I swear I would have said white, upon seeing the picture!

    • February 7, 2014 Alison

      That’s a good thing, because it means I managed to capture the white! 🙂 Thank you.

  • January 23, 2014 Emily

    The way you captured the white in the chair makes it look like someone should be sitting there- maybe your reader. I like it. White…means squeaky clean to me. I like it, but need my colors! Also, you have got me thinking about a camera, too!
    Emily recently wrote…Choir Chatter: Singing ValentinesMy Profile

    • February 7, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad you got that from the picture, Emily! You should absolutely get a camera 🙂

  • January 23, 2014 Elaine A.

    I am stumped on this one. I will try to find something tomorrow… no snow here, that’s for sure! ha!

    And I like all the lines and pattern in your photo!

    • February 7, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Elaine!

  • January 23, 2014 Christy

    I love that you went with something not obvious- it shows you really thought about it, and this project isn’t just about taking a picture for you. It’s about more than that- digging a little deeper, reaching into your well of creativity and seeing what you can come up with.
    Christy recently wrote…Midweek SilenceMy Profile

    • February 7, 2014 Alison

      I like to think so, Christy, thank you for saying so (the part about digging deeper). Thank you!

  • January 23, 2014 allie

    I honestly have not given “white” that much thought. What I love most about this picture is WHEN you took it. I like picturing you sitting, sipping tea, eating cake, reading, being, relaxing. I guess I like the story behind the picture more…but it’s a beautiful picture and I would never have been able to capture what you did.
    allie recently wrote…Reverse Bucket ListMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I like that you imagined that, Allie! I do want each of my pictures to tell a story, so thank you.

  • January 23, 2014 NJ

    I think white would be super hard to photograph!

    I love the freshness of white, especially after a nice snow. Somehow, it makes winter in New England a little bit more tolerable.
    NJ recently wrote…10 Commandments Of BloggingMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      It is pretty, isn’t it?

  • January 23, 2014 Lady Jennie

    It was purely by chance that I caught a good white photo, but I did post it.

    Before your chair picture fully loaded, I wondered if it was the same thing as mine. But why would you need heating in Malaysia? 😉
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Palais de la DécouverteMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Only for water for taking showers! 🙂

  • January 23, 2014 Barbara

    I love the different whites in the picture.

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thanks Barbara!

  • January 23, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    I love your photos Alison – very beautiful, clean and I love the touch/hint of color on the table 🙂 Happy Thursday! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…GTFO: Brain MattersMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Iva!

  • January 23, 2014 Bev

    I was so tempted to take pictures of snow for this week’s prompt (it did actually snow again here yesterday), but I went with a different image. You did an excellent capturing white, that table looks so sleek!
    Bev recently wrote…AmazementMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad you didn’t go with the obvious! 🙂

  • January 23, 2014 Chris Carter

    I love that photo Allison. LOVE it. I love the contrast with the curtain behind it and the combination of the dark and light. I love the crisp clarity of the edges and the image of soulful peace…in writing/thinking/reading/sitting/being still.
    Chris Carter recently wrote…Our New Discipline System That Works!My Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Chris, I truly appreciate it!

  • January 23, 2014 Leigh Ann

    My white’s never seem bright or crisp enough. Then again, I rely on PicMonkey for my editing, so… This is a beautiful, crisp, clean photo. Love this series!
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…finding a good after school routineMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I edit using PicMonkey too – though this picture was SOOC, so thank you!

  • January 24, 2014 Galit Breen

    You captured the simplicity of the quiet moment perfectly! Next time I’ll join you! xo
    Galit Breen recently wrote…The good stuff right hereMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Please do, honey! xo

  • January 24, 2014 Kimberly

    As I’m sitting here looking at 10+ inches of white snow that I am hating with a passion, you make white look welcoming.
    Beautiful words to match.
    Kimberly recently wrote…You’re Nice But I Hate YouMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Heh. Thank you, my love. xo

  • January 24, 2014 Greta

    It’s very clean and stark and…white. I think you captured it beautifully.
    Greta recently wrote…Through The Lens Thursday: WhiteMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I’m so glad you think so, partner!

  • January 24, 2014 Char

    You are so very right in many details! White can be hard to photograph in all areas mentioned in your blog but it can also give you the clarity needed in photo with dark colors or black. It is also colorless as in it reflects all colors of light and it is also very peaceful and can be related to life with all of these aspects. We would like our lives to be peaceful and to have clarity… only so many lives in this world have neither.

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I love your insight as a photographer, Char!

  • January 24, 2014 Shannon

    I love the white against the black. This week was a hard one, but I did it! I am loving this weekly motivation!
    Shannon recently wrote…WhiteMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I’m so happy to see you join in every week, Shannon!

  • January 24, 2014 Janice Trinh

    Oh I love how the white sorta pops out because of the black. But I thought the table a bit too blurred? It kinda makes me look away from it and my eyes instead naturally falls on the black wall on the right corner of the chair. (I hope that makes sense.)

    Thanks for this project. It’s really fun so far!
    Janice Trinh recently wrote…3 Perspectives: Through the Lens – WhiteMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      It’s because I used a small aperture (f/stop) and my focus was on the chair 🙂

  • January 24, 2014 heidi

    It’s that little bit of color in the white that I especially love. Subtle, but it spoke volumes to me. I don’t know anything about photography, but I know what I like and I really, really like this. Love, actually.
    heidi recently wrote…who caresMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Heidi!

  • January 24, 2014 Ilene

    I don’t have a super critical eye when it comes to photography – but I will say that I love what you did – and I think you have some good contrast here!

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I appreciate that, thank you, Ilene!

  • January 24, 2014 Maureen

    Great perspective, Alison! I love the depth of field on this picture. Makes you wonder what that person sitting there feel or think. Love it!
    Maureen recently wrote…Joy in Antigravity YogaMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Maureen!

  • January 24, 2014 Christine

    White is SO hard to photograph, to get the right white and crispness.
    Christine recently wrote…Laws of MotionMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      It is! I’m lucky that my subject was already crisp white. 🙂

  • January 24, 2014 Gracielle

    Great job on this one! It was pretty challenging to get the white from the snow to show up white in my photos. I had to do lots of editing, but I guess that’s part of the process too. I’m glad I finally got to jump in on the challenge this week!
    Gracielle recently wrote…{Ask Away Friday} NJ from @ACookieB4DinnerMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Learning to edit IS part of the process, and you did a great job!

  • January 24, 2014 Natalie

    I like how creative you got with this! You did a good job and can’t wait for reflection next week!
    Natalie recently wrote…Saying Goodbye to NaptimeMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thanks Natalie!

  • January 24, 2014 Life of K

    I like that the picture isn’t in black and white, the little bits of colour make it, I think.
    Life of K recently wrote…Book 4/50: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren GrahamMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you! Editing the photo to black and white would be well, sort of cheating 🙂

  • January 25, 2014 sarah reinhart

    I really enjoy this example of white. I have two favorite parts. The lines first of all. The horizontal and vertical lines juxtaposed. And then that little pop of color on the table. Just a hint of it inside the package. Dainty. Beautiful. Makes the white WHITER, if that makes sense.

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I thought so too, so yes, that makes sense! I love getting feedback from you. 🙂

  • January 25, 2014 Rorybore

    I really like it. especially that the white of the chair back is in focus (stark/bright), and then the white of the table top is blurred (subdued/cloudy?). the brown all around acts just like a frame. very nice.
    Rorybore recently wrote…Laundry Blues: A Plea To My ChildrenMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thanks so much!

  • January 25, 2014 Amber

    Your photo is fantastic. No critique here as my camera is always set on auto.
    Amber recently wrote…Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Have A Big WeddingMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Amber! Do try Manual mode someday. It’s so fun!

  • January 25, 2014 julie gardner

    Your pictures are so beautiful it almost makes me wish I owned a camera…

    (wish I were kidding.)


    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Aw, thank you, Julie. xo

  • January 25, 2014 JDaniel4's Mom

    My picture would have been blurry! Your picture is wonderful!
    JDaniel4’s Mom recently wrote…Five Little Valentines Craft and SongMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Deirdre!

  • January 26, 2014 My Inner Chick

    I want to sit in that white chair and write a poem.

    XXX KISsssssssssssssssssssssss.
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Slices Of SoulMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      I would love for you to!

  • January 27, 2014 Robin

    I love what you did with this. Much better than my snow pictures. 😉

    I’d love to participate in this, but all mine would say “Taken with an iPhone 4S using some funky filters.” I’m never going to be a real-camera photographer.
    Robin recently wrote…Second SideMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      You’re too modest, my friend!

  • January 28, 2014 Kim

    I love it. It looks like such a wonderful spot to have tea and cake and read. Bliss!

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      It was! I’ve ever since returned there.

  • February 7, 2014 Andrea

    White is clean, clear, peaceful. Pretty much what I see in this picture.
    Andrea recently wrote…SavedMy Profile

    • February 8, 2014 Alison

      It was exactly like that when I took the picture!

I Write This Blog

Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

The Books I’m In (Buy Now!)

I Am On Google+

Oldies But Goodies