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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

The Call of the Shell

Black and white macro closeup of small sea shell

Have you ever found yourself pulled like a magnet to certain things in life? Maybe it’s a career path that beckoned, or a destination you knew you needed to visit, or a person you recognized instantly as your soulmate.


If we listen carefully to the whisper in our hearts, we find ourselves drawn by a compelling force that transcends logic and rational thought.


That’s how it was with this shell.


It was one of millions on the beach in Naples, Florida where I found it a few years ago. It was a little thing, just one and a quarter inches long, easy to overlook as the waves washed up across the piles of scattered shells on the sand. And yet somehow it called to me.


I picked it up and brought the small shell on the flight home with us, wrapped carefully in protective packaging, knowing I would want to photograph it someday.


That day finally came a few weeks ago, when a January cold spell in Charlotte enticed me to stay inside and immerse myself in macro closeup photography. I was thankful that this little shell had called out to me, and I believe our creative collaboration was fruitful. To me, the shell's open core filled with shadow represents the mystery of the quiet, compelling force that draws us.

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