Not photographS–that’s for another day. Today, I’m talking about the act of, the habit of (not to say “the obsession with”) taking snappies.
With digital cameras, you aren’t edged into caution by the costs of film and developing; you can snap anything that takes your fancy. And that’s where photography–the gerund “taking pictures”–becomes an important tool for a writer or a writer-in-training.
You find you start noticing things that would have melted into the background. I took this picture the other evening. If I hadn’t formed the habit of carrying my camera and snapping pictures of things, my eye would have slid over it. As it is, I saw it–I saw it. I considered it. I weighed it in my mind. I saw a certain niftiness in it and I preserved it.
When I got home, I put it on my computer and considered it again. This is not the picture I snapped; this is a cropped version. Once I saw it on the screen, I had the chance to decide how to crop it so it was clear what I thought was nifty in that shot. I could eliminate the stuff that I thought detracted from what interested me and leave in what I felt made a nice frame or contrast to it. You may disagree with my choices, but they’re my choices.
It’s a writer’s attitude: The world is your material. Grab pieces of it like a pack-rat. Bring the pieces home and explore them and contemplate them. Use them. Enjoy them.
writing prompt: Even if you don’t have a camera, walk through the world as if you could snap shots of it. What would you snap? That motorcycle? How would you describe it in a story? Would you ever need to describe a motorcycle so that the description mattered?