A few weeks ago, I was speaking with Editor/Founder of Whim Online Magazine, Melanie Doncas, about her thoughts on the relationship between visual storytelling and the art of writing prose. Whim, based in Sydney, Australia, is a digital publication using ethereal, dreamy photography to give whimsical life to posts about fashion, art and everything in between. (They even featured my little site last month!) So naturally, the question seemed fitting: How is our mind able to find the stories within visuals even when no words are there? Here’s what she had to say …
“Just as a writer speaks using words, a photographer speaks through images.” I recently read this quote from photographer and writer Nadia Gric and was struck by how truthful yet obvious this statement was. In just one short sentence, I was been able to grasp exactly what it is that makes images spark our imagination, causing us to create narratives as though from thin air.
As the Editor and Founder of Whim Online Magazine, a digital publication focusing heavily on whimsical and dreamy photography, I am lucky enough to create these enchanting narratives in my mind every day. Receiving and writing about beautiful imagery on a regular basis leaves me feeling constantly inspired and always wishing to create – whether it be an image of my own or poetic prose streaming from my pen.
However, as little word studio Founder/Author Melissa recently pondered to me, what makes us connect so strongly with a photograph?
I believe that photography serves many purposes, two of these being to preserve a moment in time and to invite us into another world – whether it be that of the subject or photographer and of a time either in the present, past or future.
Humans are visual creatures who find comfort in the familiar, yet are often curious enough to seek out the unknown. It comes as no surprise then that we are so drawn to visual storytelling through photography, as it allows us to observe these things at a safe distance. We can choose to be enveloped by the photograph’s world, even if it is only imaginary, or simply avert our gaze if we wish to suddenly disconnect.
For me, I am particularly drawn to images that celebrate whimsical and ethereal elements. They draw me in to fairytale realms, remind me of the incredible beauty of nature, or prompt my imagination to curate its own dreamy narratives.
When I was a university student studying creative writing, I almost always looked to visual inspiration in the form of photography to aid me with my writing process. I believe that an image speaks a thousand words and in turn, that words can also serve to inspire the work of many photographers.
This is why in my eBook, The Whimsical Photography Playbook, I chose to include written and poetic photography prompts. I wanted to inspire photographers, asking each to take my words from the page and convey them visually through the art of photography.
Storytelling through both written words and photography are strongly connected, with these two mediums often going hand-in-hand to create something truly wonderful. This is what I love the most about little word studio, with its concentration on showcasing original stories inspired by visual artists from around the world.
Collaboration between creative fields is something to be cherished and I hope that next time you see an image which captures your eye, you also allow it to capture your imagination. Ask yourself, “What narrative is this photograph creating in my mind?” As the popular saying goes, inspiration often strikes when you least expect it!