It is difficult to make words and photographs work together and it takes work to create the synergy between the two. I have been working with words and pictures as part of my photographic art for about twenty five years. It is difficult to create the right balance between what you photograph and what you write. The words have to be about what the photographs are about. And sometimes you have to write a whole bunch of words to eventually get down to describing what the photographs are about. There are times when you wind up with way too many words because you ran down the wrong road. What happens when you have dueling words and photographs?
When your words and photographs argue, you have to let the photographs win. Photographers’ primary means of communication is the image. If you have some extra words you really want to use, save them for another project. You can always go out and make some new photographs to work with the words you really like. You never know when you will need a clever phrase or intriguing title for your next project. Write down those clever phrases or potential photographic titles because you never know when you will need to use one.
Wouldn’t that be a different thing to do? Starting with the statement and then making the photographs fit the words? So often I find myself putting together a nice collection of photographs and then slaving to figure out how to write something meaningful to both my audience and myself. Words first is a new challenge you might try to get yourself out of a rut.
This thought came as a result of thinking about the three part series on the Artists' Statement I wrote earlier this year. That series can be found starting with this blog post.
Mixing found objects and window light is a sure fire way to get me to make a picture. Hart Square is a private collection of historic North Carolina buildings furnished with period specific contents. Like Brigadoon, it is only open to the public one day per year. My wife and I went last year and I spent a whole day with the camera permanently affixed to my face. There is so much to photograph we’re going back to visit this year.