Monday, March 19, 2012

For every question, there is a story.

The Husbinator and I just watched The Bang Bang Club (worth watching, by the way), and it got me to thinking about photographs and something Henry David Thoreau said.

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."  ~Henry David Thoreau

Photographs are incredibly inspiring to me, so they often play an important role in my writing. You can bet that if there's a story, there's a photograph, or a piece of art, that brought it to life in my mind.

I don't know a whole lot about art though, so writing has become something of a learning process for me. Instead of going for an obvious painting or photograph when I need a little inspiration, I like to spend a little time looking through photographs or art to see what sparks the imagination. I've come across some really amazing art and photographs as a result of those forrays.

I found this painting (below) a couple of years ago during research for Fade, and fell in love with it. Ari is a history lover, and when I saw this, I just knew it was something that would capture her interest, too. It has a very mysterious, reverent feel to it, I think. She mentions it in a playful manner, but the feel of the painting fits what she's talking about, even so. At least, I think it does. :)

Anasazi Noble Spirit Guardian by Kendall Davenport

As far as photographs go, I have a tendency to save or bookmark any that capture my imagination, so I have about a million that I absolutely adore. One of my favorite things about my friends is how often they send me pictures, too. Every time they come across one that reminds them of me or that they think I would like, they send it my way. It works out well. :)

My favorites are always the sadder or somber photographs and images. I think that's because they're always the one's that have a story behind them. With those photographs, as Thoreau said, it's not what we're looking at that matters, but what we're seeing.  

In Just Married, Ashton's character's father says something that, paraphrased, means life is what happens between the happy photographs. I think that is very true. A happy ending in a book or movie, for instance, is always that much sweeter when the characters have had to fight for it. Sad or reflective photographs capture the moments that get us to that happy ending. They're also the ones that allow us to relate to others.

We might never know, for instance, what it feels like to win an Academy Award, dance on Broadway, or skydive over the desert, but we do know what it's like to fight for our dreams, to have bad days, or to be a little sad at times. The images that capture those moments speak to us, because we can relate, and we want to know more. Why is he crying? Who's eyes are we seeing that tree from? What is that wolf thinking? What drove her to that point? How is he going to overcome whatever it is that got him there?

We see a world of possibilities in those photographs because there is a question lurking in there somewhere, begging to be answered. The story that answers that question may be sad, triumphant, bitter, or bittersweet. There's a million things it may be if we look deeply enough, and even if none of them ever come close to the reality of the image, we still walk away feeling as if we've related to the subject in some small way.

That's inspiring, don't you think?

This one, by Jimmy Carroll, makes me so sad.

This one makes me sad, too. I want to hug him.

I love this one.

Very somber.

Inspiration is all around us, every day. Where does yours come from?

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