Last week in part 1) I wrote about how the taking of photographs could benefit the writer. How the act of composing the picture, seeing what is actually there can relate to writing. How the ordinary if it is viewed from a different angle can seem new and interesting, much the same as in writing. Good writers can make us the see the everyday in a new light. But it doesn’t stop with the taking of the photograph.
The most obvious use for all those pictures I take is in this blog, to illustrate whatever topic has come into my head for that week. So most of the photographs you see in this blog are taken by me. I don’t take photographs for a specific topic, unless it’s very specific, a collection of books, or something in the garden. No, I’m accumulating a library of images that I think may be of use in the future. OK, if I need a picture of a space ship, or another planet, then that is more difficult and so I resort to a photo bank. However, even with photographs for a science fiction blog I can often find something that illustrates the subject, if not directly. So now when I’m out and about with my camera, which is more often than not, I’m looking for possible pictures that might have a science fiction element to them (often a bit tenuous I know). And if not, I’m usually not looking for the obvious or the pretty photograph, I’m looking for that new angle on the everyday. So both the taking of the picture and the photograph itself have a value to me as a writer.
Then there is a more creative side to having all those pictures sitting on my hard drive. As a writer I’m trying to bring to life the places and worlds that my characters inhabit. What’s more I want to describe them in ways that are less obvious, that bring something novel to the scene, that can inspire the imagination in the reader. Sometimes when I’m searching through my photographs looking for an illustration for a blog I’ll come across one that reminds me of a scene that I’ve written recently. It’s usually not the same, not the actual setting etc., after all I’m writing sci-fi. However, it has an element of what I’m trying to describe. It may be just tall buildings, or mountains, or a street. Having that photograph lets me play with ideas, helps to me picture my fictional setting more clearly, which in turn leads to more interesting ways to describe what I want the reader to see.
Finally, as I search for those picture to include in my blog there is the simple pleasure of coming across places, events and occasions, seeing the photographs and reliving the memories. In the past I would take photographs, stick them in a box, occasionally in albums and hardly ever look at them again. The great thing about the digital age of photography is that as I’m writing this they are all here on my computer. And, as I describe above, both with the blog and the rest of my writing I have a reason to look at them.
So carry a camera, look for the unusual in the ordinary. Take photographs and look at them. Use them, for a blog, for practice, for inspiration. Oh, and do make sure you back them up from time to time.
As always views and comments are welcome.