Comings and Goings: Photo Essay

October 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

About a month ago, I spent an afternoon writing down by the lake and was unexpectedly joined by a troupe of ducks who prattled, pecked, and preened in my presence. I was surprised at how close they waddled past me and how persistently they stayed together as a group, resting from whatever it is ducks need resting from.

Earlier that week, a photographer had challenged me to focus on capturing a story through pictures — establishing the setting, characters, action, and conclusion — rather than just looking for a shot that might be good. (You can see his photo essay example here.) So I put down my storytelling pen and paper and picked up my camera to snap away.

There’s not a strong story other than the ducks came, they nibbled, they flew away. And the photographs individually aren’t a big deal. But I am interested in the sequence of things, how a number of disparate angles come together and create a compelling scene, just as a character is interesting enough in a sketch, but vividly real within a novel, or a song can be a hit single, but is only a point within the entire movement of an album. I’m also just a sucker for stories.

Not so much for ducks though. They came, yes, but I’m glad they went.

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