book review a year of mornings

If you want to be inspired to take everyday photos, I recommend looking at A Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes. This is photo book of near daily photo pairings (diptychs) from the two authors.

Nearly everyday in 2007, they each took a photo before noon and posted the two photos together on their blog. The photos were “unposed and never-discussed beforehand”. They called their blog, 3191 miles apart, which is the distance between Portland, Maine, where Maria lives, and Portland, Oregon, where Stephanie lives.

I find this book inspiring because it encourages me to look for beauty in my own mornings. I think these photos do exactly what Stephanie describes in the introduction: “it is my hope that our photos engender a culture of noticing, that they don’t represent something lovely and out of reach to the viewer, but instead illuminate what is beautiful at her own breakfast table.”

The authors are continuing their partnership with a quarterly magazine and handmade goods at


  • I love the collaboration of the two photographers.
  • I love the feel of this book (I’m geeky about how the paper feels, and I love this paper).
  • I love the tiny embossed dots on the cover (really hard to see in the photo above, but there are tiny raised dots in the white part of the cover).


  • This is by far the most inspiring photography book I own. But if I had to pick one thing I would change, I would add a one sentence commentary with each photo. I really like how the photographers on the Habit blog add some story with their photos.

Favourite Quotes

“Over time the daily search for simplicity and quiet through my photos became a sanctuary for me.” Stephanie Congdon Barnes

“These morning photographs contain the intense sentiments of passion, loss, yearning, and the more quiet emotions of melancholy, contentment, and weariness.” Maria Alexandra Vettesse

If you like this book, try:

  • Habit blog: a collection of days
  • 3191: Evenings book by the same authors [out of print]


  • 5 Stars: I think you should buy it!

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