June 6, 2011

Everyone has a lens through which they see the world and everyone’s view is a little bit different. The lenses are shaped by our stories and these stories are what give our lives meaning.

There is power in a story.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It has the ability to tell a story with OUT words. Photographs are secret story tellers. They allow us to revisit stories with a glance. This is one reason I’m so drawn to creating them. I think the story is truly the essence of the art.

I want you to look at some images below. Some have a clear story. Some have back stories. Some have different stories to each viewer. I will share my thoughts below and ask that you do the same by leaving a comment if any of them move you as well. Tell me what story the image tells YOU. {This is a great exercise}.

A. “The road to unknown.”
To me, this image represents faith. Obviously the light is following a path, and the road is definitely paved but it is dark beyond the light’s reach. We cannot see but we trust that God has been through the darkness ahead of us and will accompany us through it.

B. “Catch me if you can”
This is special to me for obvious reasons but the story of it represents the fleeting essence of childhood…for parents who watch their children grow all too quickly and truly for the children themselves. We can all relate to this image because we all know the feeling of being a child. “Catch me if you can” is a great title because its meaning is felt on the different levels. Obviously this sweet baby is running away {probably from her ‘scary’ uncle jeff} but on the deeper level… we can’t “catch” our childhood….no matter how hard we try. The best we can do is capture an image or tell a story that best helps us remember it.

C. “Bedtime stories”
This one will undoubtedly be a treasure for us for years. What a sweet memory with their dad. And I hope that in years when we look back we can re-experience this moment through this image. It is so sweet.

D. “Too Cozy”
The expression in this one says it all.

E. “Reflections of Eden.”
The innocence and purity of childhood surrounded by a beautiful garden. A sunburst in the sky representing the heavens. Darkness surrounding the ball contrasting the light in the reflection. I love this image. It was completely my mom’s idea which is the back story behind it and will give it more significant meaning to me as I view it.

So… as you go on creating (or hiring people to create for you) images to represent these stages of life as you pass through them, consider the story behind it. In composing your images, include context clues for the viewer to read the story you’re trying to tell. The more cohesive your story, the more powerful your image.

The inspiration for this post came from my dear friend Jeffi who lost her beloved Jackson this past week unexpectedly. Her description of him “running back to her arms” sums this image up perfectly. It gives me a vision of him comforting her as he runs to her…telling her its ok and that he will be waiting for her in heaven. What an awesome story it tells. Made me realize the importance of the story in any image. It is what gives a great shot its true meaning.

Man, I miss that big ole smile already…. rest in peace, buddy.

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4 Comments to The power of the story

  1. “Catch Me If You Can” gives me chills because it so perfectly captures the essence of Maddie. She’s always playful, always in motion, always making you work. Gonna love looking back on that one for years.

  2. I agree with Brandon, like you say, Life is sweet, savor it…P.S. I want a copy of that photo

  3. My heart breaks for Jeffi…..

  4. Eliz… Your images and meaningful commentaries make one think on a different level. I remember when you took the pictures of Jackson and how much we loved what you were able to capture on film. He will be missed by all of us more than anyone can imagine… He was one special guy!

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An avid equestrian and true lover of art, Elizabeth merges her love of the horse, beauty and human relationship into her images.

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