Archive for October 2012

Place a Lucky Penny For Someone Else to Find   Leave a comment

This is something I do. I have for some time and it amuses me. I’m not sure how it started, but one day when my pocket was full of change, I thought to myself, where will this change end up? Whose pockets will these coins fill in the future? Pennies have become another of our many abandoned objects. “Things”, we have little use of and that have literally and figuratively no value, save that of the “lucky penny”‘ which for every penny in every pocket the potential exists. So it was on that day, when I first placed my lucky penny in plain sight, that it’s real value was realized. I never wondered before how lucky pennies became lucky pennies, but now that I have created dozens, perhaps hundreds it doesn’t really matter?

The beauty of my lucky penny making was partially lost on me until yesterday. I knew that that lucky penny would bring a smile to someone’s face and that was the delight in it. Creating the moment of surprise and joy for a stranger who I would never meet, was all the more sweet for me. Think about the last time you discovered a lucky penny. Did it not feel like you were 9 all over again?

When retelling the story of making lucky pennies over dinner with colleagues I was expecting nothing more than a few chuckles and odd looks at a habit I amused myself with. Instead, I received the following response, “making lucky pennies creates good karma”. I honestly never thought about that. It was never my intent to create good karma, only to amuse myself in the thought of putting a smile on someone’s face over the discovery of a little copper piece of metal.

In the early morning hours, lying awake in yet another time zone, that thought stuck with me. What does it mean to create good karma? How is karma measured and do I deserve it? My lucky penny making was never about that, and yet I can’t help but think that in some small way, my little gesture to the world may indeed be returned to me in some fanciful way.

Traveling as much as I do, gives me time to be alone with my thoughts and it is at these moments that I conjure up these crazy musings. We can all use some good karma, so I’ve decided to dedicate this imageless blog post to extending my lucky penny making to the world.

The next time you reach into your pocket or change purse and pull out a penny, place it in plain sight for someone to find. We need more lucky pennies in the world.

Thanks for stopping by.


Posted October 31, 2012 by Paul Coffin in Travel

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The Photo That Got Me Started   Leave a comment

Landscape #1

© 1980 Paul Coffin Photography

In a recent blog I read, a question was posed about the photo that got you started. It made me think and I went deep into my archives to find that one image that I could trace my love of photography roots to. As it happened I found a few. Not surprisingly, they were landscapes and seascapes that  also had the sun low in the sky, reflecting on the water. It was 1980 and I was 15. I had purchased my first camera, a Nikon FE with my newspaper route money. I wasn’t aware then, as I am now, the impact photography would have on my life, and how ultimately, it would shape the person I would become and how I see the world.

It never ceases to amaze me, how at a very young age, our personalities, tastes, sense of humor and overall sense of who we are is cemented forever. I see it in my own sons over and over. Who they were when they were 5 or 15 or 20 is fundamentally who they are now.

If you are not living a life that is true to who you were when you were young, look back into your personal history books and pick up an old hobby. I firmly believe it is what keeps us young at heart and is at the core of who we are.

Landscape #2

© 1980 Paul Coffin Photography

Posted October 28, 2012 by Paul Coffin in Art, Landscape, Maritime, Nature, Photography

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Little Five Points, Atlanta GA   Leave a comment

I Live The Answer

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

What is it about abandoned shoes that is so intriguing? Am I the only one who wonders about their bare footed owners? Abandonment is a pretty powerful emotion, one that conjures a multitude of feelings.  Abandoned objects make a great metaphor for these feelings, and something as intimate as a shoe does that for me.

The shoe suspended and dangling from the wire, suspends in its presence the story of its owner. The miles walked in it, the places it has been, silent like a fly watching dutifully on the wall. I can’t look at an abandoned shoe and not think these thoughts. It overwhelms me.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

There is the abandoned and there is “the” abandoned. Little Five Points in Atlanta is an eclectic mix of bars, old record stores, clothing on consignment and restaurants all coming together at an intersection that attracts every variety of person you can imagine. There are to be sure, those whose lives have fallen on hard times and for whom Little Five Points is home.

I’ve written before about how I am attracted to and afraid of street photography. This particular visit was part of a “Photo Walk”, where photographers gather for a social gathering and to take a few photos. I felt uncomfortable taking this particular photo, but that discomfort was soon overshadowed by the gravity of the life of these two men whose life I stepped into for but a brief moment.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

Aptly named “reflection” this last image completes the triptych. I suppose I could wax on about the masks, the reflections, the sense of luxury and the hollowness of the mannequins, but it was only when I brought them together for this post did the irony hit me. Art and photography should challenge our sensibilities, it should reflect our emotions and feelings and it should juxtapose one realty with another.