Writing and Photography -SNAP Into Action

Wandering with my camera beside the creek looking for Monarch butterflies.

I find the connection between photography and writing an irresistible and compelling force. Along with writing, I have always loved photography and I believe the attention to detail that photography requires, has assisted me as a writer to observe more closely the small detail of my surrounding world. It is a partnership that enables creative perspectives and enhances visual and verbal literacy. The outcome hopefully produces outcomes that are pleasurable to the eye and the ear.

Modern technology has made photography so accessible. Smart phones, ipads, and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have created infinite opportunities for sharing visual images. Our lives are increasingly documented in images. Some have inherent beauty, others provoke while others are questionable. Our photographic archives are rapidly expanding. My computer contains more that 15000 images. It grows daily.

I regularly use photographs in my notebook writing. I create projects that fuse photographs and words. People, places and events are the focus of many of these projects. I am an explorer of the world and the images I collect inspire words; the words inspire images.

Establishing such connections in the minds of student writers adds an extra dimension to the range of possibilities for their writing.

Allow me to share a few examples of the photograph/writing partnership from my notebooks:

The casual observation of a fallen winter leaf in my driveway inspired this photograph and its inclusion in my notebook.
From a collection of notebook poems using photographs as backgrounds
A poem about a fish on a plate -on a plate! Fun and nonsense with poetry and photography

I took this photo last October when visiting Rome, I found it on Via Pellogrino a narrow street that connects to Campo De Fiori. I have used it many times to illustrate that you don't learn to ride a bicycle by merely looking at pictures of one. You have to climb on board and learn to control it. You might have a few crashes in the process, but if you persist you will eventually make that contraption yield to your will. It is the same with writing. This picture also hangs in my house, providing a daily reminder of the importance of being a 'doer.'
I originally took this photograph while living in New York. I printed it in black and white after reading a Cynthia Rylant book of poetry inspired by Depression era photographs.


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