I am starting a weekly series focused on stories built around single photos. I will keep all stories under 100 words. Being concise is a skill, probably one of the most difficult to acquire. Stories can be directly linked to the photo (how it was taken, what was happening) or they can simply use the photo as a writing prompt.
For today, I chose this grainy photo on a windmill in a small nature reserve close to where I live.
Photography has taught me to pay attention.
Pay attention to details but also to how these details combine to form a meaningful scene.
Pay attention to the quality of light and the juxtaposition of colors and textures.
Pay attention to what happens out there not just in my head.
Since Sarah (from Travel with me) invited us to share three of our favorite photos, I thought about what I would choose and, more broadly, about how we relate critically to our own work.
The photos that tend to stay with me are those that tell a story that’s meaningful to me. Those that reconnect me to that past moment when I took the photo, but also to the story, emotion, mood, or idea that stayed with me over time. Although I tend to overthink and over-intellectualize in other parts of my life, when it comes to photography I go with the gut. I know (or feel) that some compositions make sense long before I start analyzing them.
The tide is coming in like a tsunami.
The beach has been swallowed by the rising sea. There’s a storm brewing somewhere on the horizon. The waves keep getting higher and stronger. They splash against the concrete wall, creating foam tentacles descending upon unsuspecting passers-by.
The sun emerges slowly from the sea, hesitating as if the heaviness of the water is holding it back. The small beach is full of crabs that were washed ashore by the tide and eaten by the seagulls. One crab carcass has been flipped over and now it catches the morning sunlight.
There’s nobody around.
The soft waves carry the memory of water in an endless back and forth.
If there’s something that connects the various dots of my posts here, it’s my interest in storytelling. I don’t mean the technical aspects of telling a story, although those are important too. I mean the reasons we tell stories, the way they change us, and the roles they take in our lives.
There are many ways of telling stories, some more obvious than others. Telling a fairy tale is storytelling, but so is writing a novel. Or the letters and emails we send to family and friends. Or the photos we take. The books we keep around, the pictures we hang on the walls, and our social media presence are also ways of telling a story about ourselves.
Three months ago I wrote about blogging and about the importance of starting from the reality of the present situation. I’d like to follow up on that. In fact, I’d like to revisit some of the things I’ve written there and add some new points.
It gets late and the tide is coming in strong. I am at the water’s edge, watching my feet slowly disappear under water.
The breeze is carrying smells of faraway life and death, of drifting away and never coming back.
Seaweed. Decomposing creatures washed ashore. Salt. Cold. Fear. Calm.
Fantastic shapes in the sand, resisting until the next big wave washes everything over. Water, the big equalizer.
This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, hosted by Sylvia, is all about doors and doorways.
Doors. We open and close them dozens of times each day. We use them to organize our space. To get access. To open to the world. To protect from the world.
But there are also doors that won’t open. They are not in use anymore or they’ve never been in use. They seem to be there to hide rather than reveal something.