I very rarely publish a photo without writing about it. Sometimes just a few words. Other times 2-3 paragraphs. A few times it’s mostly text and the photo seems almost a secondary element.

Good photography can talk by itself. Truly great photos carry the story and the emotion within that frame. But great photos are few and far in between for anybody, including accomplished photographers. And all photos, great or not so great, can benefit from written word.

In some cases, written word just adds context and detail. The story is transmitted visually. The text is secondary and only accentuates, clarifies or adds color to the visual narrative. Sometimes, it talks about the personal connection or involvement with the subject of the photo.

Blue, green and gold.
The rising sun has set the top of the trees on fire and it’s just starting to reach the forest floor. Parts of this blanket of bluebells are still in deep shade.
Everything is changing fast. The light, the colors, the mood of the whole scene.

In some other cases, visuals combine seamlessly with text. One could not stand without the other. The text is more than a caption. The photos are more than an illustration of a written idea. The photo essay or the documentary photo projects are classic examples of this.

The combination of visual and written has something powerful not so much because “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but because each of these means of expression adds something that the other cannot. They are complementary, not contiguous.

In the end, the means of expression is less important than what is transmitted. Is the story genuine, interesting, meaningful? Is it something that speaks to you, that will stay with you?

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