Friday, October 25, 2019


A true sign of a great novel is when I can see the scene in my head as the author describes it in vivid detail, using powerful mind-engaging adjectives. Depending on the scene, I can see the people, the calming feel of the place, or even get in the main character's head.

There are some scenes I like to photograph simply because they could be a scene out of a novel, an illustration of what the author is trying to convey. Those images elicit wonderment, curiosity, thoughts, and even 

Here are a few examples. What do you "read" into them? What was the author trying to convey?

I was with one of my students on a 1-on-1 photo lesson. She had recommended this once beautiful but now abandoned house. She had got permission for us to go inside. As we walked throughout the house getting some really cool photos, we went upstairs to one of the bedrooms. There, on the floor were tons of Christmas cards scattered randomly in the midst of historic chaos. The novel questions for me are, "Who lived here? What was their lifestyle? Why did she keep all these Christmas cards all those years, who were they from, and why did she leave them behind?" 

In order to add to my deep questions and wonderment, I converted most of the image to black and white, except for just a few Christmas cards. It's a combination of the present and the past. 

This next scene reminded me of something out of a downtown Chicago street corner. No, it wasn't Chicago. This Italian restaurant is in Hot Springs, Arkansas. One of the many reasons I love the art of photography is that whatever we create, it is out of context for the viewers--they weren't there when I "took" that photo. I remind myself of that when I'm out in the field. 

For this photo, the questions are, "Where is this place? Did he just come out of that
restaurant?" For me, that beautiful old street light is the exclamation mark in the scene.     

Can't you just get into her head? She's totally alone, doing something because she enjoys it  It looks cool and wet with that thick fog. She has her jacket on, but looks content, relaxed, happy. The simple things in life are the slow things in life. Take your time. Breathe it in.


Who is she? Why is she at the train station alone? Why is she dressed like that? Where is she going? What's her story?


She's at a botanic gardens, but she's not walking around admiring the beautiful flowers, plants, and fountains. Instead, she seems to be peacefully and comfortably in her own head. Is she reading a novel and taking notes? Is she jotting down her thoughts in her journal before they float away in the gardens to join the fluttering butterflies?   

Ahhh. How do you spell h-e-a-v-e-n? Can you imagine yourself there, leaving behind the stressful sounds of traffic, the unnecessary inefficiencies at the office, or maybe what you hope is temporary life chaos? Maybe, just maybe, some quiet meditation by the lake will clear your head enough to explain the unexplainable and accept the unacceptable.


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