This week, show us what being alone means to you.

Editors’ Note: Starting February 8, we’ll publish Weekly Photo Challenges on Wednesdays, instead of Fridays as we currently do.

“Solitude is the place of purification.” — Martin Buber

Many people equate solitude with loneliness, but I find it comforting and restorative. Because of social media’s ubiquity, we are constantly connected to others. Even when we are physically alone, we are very rarely truly solitary. Unplugging is good, and introspection is important, but most of us don’t get enough opportunity to do either.

Little girl, big ocean. Photo by Jen Hooks.

Little girl, big ocean. Photo by Jen Hooks.

“We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart, and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together. I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude.” — Helen Hayes

My husband and I are both “social introverts”, and we are raising our children to prize solitude. My eldest (pictured above) and middle daughters enjoy their personal time very much, and I’m hopeful that security in solitude will help them cope with life’s inevitable, occasional loneliness. Even our youngest, at three, is comfortable with being alone. For our family, we find that just the right amount of solitude makes together time that much sweeter.

This week, show us what being alone means to you. If you’re finding yourself surrounded by too many people, or too many sensations, or too many obligations, take a quiet moment for yourself. Seek solitude, and reset. Or, perhaps you find yourself isolated too often, and solitude evokes negative emotions that photography can help you work through.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations of this challenge!

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  1. No man is an island, according to John Donne. It’s true, indeed. We are social animals as attested by the popularity of Facebook. At the same time, there are times when the situation gets so overwhelming that we feel the need to disconnect from the rest of humanity. We go into solitude mode.


  2. If you’re a committed extrovert, being gregarious isn’t just second nature, it’s what you live for.
    If you hang on for the time you’re out of the social eye and you live and breathe your own life because without it you will drown in the chit-chattery of life, you need solitude. This isn’t remarkable, it’s essential.


  3. Thank you for posting this. I’m a social introvert and love to reflect in solitude. I’m not a photographer, but I love studying artists and their work. It always inspires me and makes me want to improve. I hope you have a wonderful day!


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