I love taking pictures. Back in the pre-digital camera days, I wouldn’t have said that, mainly because getting them developed was a mild pain in the arse. And for me, photography is a hobby I enjoy, but not a passion. Words are where the passion lies.
So that old expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” always got on my nerves a little bit. Because if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the stories writers weave are just a lot of time clickety-clacking on the keyboard that could be better spent pointing and shooting.
To me, words and pictures are art forms that can inspire and tell a story alone, or together. A writer’s tale can spark a photographer to find and capture a scene she’s read about, or to create an image based on the words. And a photograph can easily inspire a story.
These thoughts just kind of came to me today as I was browsing through pictures Lee and I had taken on a recent hike. When we uploaded the pictures, I just posted all gazillion of them to my Facebook account and didn’t give any single one of them a lot of thought. Our plan is to return to the same trail at least once a week and chronicle how the peaceful but still brown and bleak landscape wakes up and comes to life with spring. This first batch of photos was just step one in that picture-story.
But today, when I looked at the photo above, I realized just how much it says and just how many tales it could spark. Here are just a few of the things it says to me:
– The girl in the picture is me, but could be anyone. The road behind her is rocky and a little slippery – not in an insurmountable way but pebbled with little obstacles just the same. What were those small but troublesome obstacles?
– She’s left some long and brooding shadows behind her, but also some flecks of sunlight. Will the next person to walk the path be more effected by the shadows or the sun?
– There are still more obstacles up ahead, like the tree that appears to have fallen in the path. But you really can’t tell, because the path bends, whether that tree will block her way entirely, let her through with ease, or just be one more hurdle to jump over.
– For that matter, the bend in the road holds a million stories even without the tree. What awaits when she turns the corner?
– With the exception of the sunlight, the landscape is brown and bleak and drab. But up in the corner, where she’s about to turn the path, one of the trees throws out a promising splash of green. A sign of things to come?
I could go on, but you “get the picture.” For me, what a picture does to a thousand words isn’t exeed their worth, but inspire them. And vice versa.