The Art of the Story

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Halifax Trip 2003

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

Photography is about storytelling – told without the inconvenience of words.

A few years ago, I purchased an inexpensive digital camera to document a family trip.  I confess that I gave the camera very little thought; in fact, I left the instructions at home, deciding to take the “point and click” approach.  I would never consider embracing the title of photographer.  That designation was left to those who carried tripods and huge cameras with impressively long lenses.  While I admired the tenacity and dedication of shutterbugs hauling heavy photography gear, I considered the apparatus an impediment to any adventure that I planned to undertake.

Halifax Trip 2003

Sailing on the Mar II

And then something happened along the way.  I heard the story.  Despite my haphazard approach to taking photography, with every shot I captured a moment in time that would never be repeated. And therein lies the mystery; for photos allow us a second look, a recollection of an emotional response, a reminder that we have lived on this earth.

Photos bring the narrative of the moment, insulated from the noise of the present.  With a simple click, we stop time.

“These people live again in print as intensely as when their images were captured on old dry plates of sixty years ago… I am walking in their alleys, standing in their rooms and sheds and workshops, looking in and out of their windows. Any they in turn seem to be aware of me.”

Ansel Adams

22 thoughts on “The Art of the Story

  1. Your story sounds so much like mine Rebecca. Serendipity is something truly fine, as are your wonderful photos. It is a joy to know you~

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    • Thank you, dear Cindy. Isn’t it interesting how quickly photography engages our thoughts. By the way, I did a search into what type of camera(s) Ansel Adams used: a Hasselblad, a Korona view, a Polaroid Land, a Leica, a Linhof, a 35mm Zeiss Contax.

      I have a feeling, he wouldn’t need anything more than a simple digital camera. Have a wonderful day.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly. There are some photos that engage the whole world, but the most poignant are those that touch our lives. I have been going through my dad’s photos this past year and have been inspired by the events and people that are captured in print. I carry the DNA of my great-grandparents that smile back at me – because of a photo somehow our lives intersect.

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      • So true. I have had access to some old family photos for the first time, and I keep looking at these people I didn’t ever meet and marvelling that I belong to them.

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      • I feel the same way! I admire anyone who has the steadfastness to keep a diary for that is where we find all the treasure of history. I think that blogging is our way of documenting our lives.

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  2. Contrary to the myth that the quality of the photo equipment is the most important, whereas without the ability to mentally and emotionally react to capture the moment’s image, the beauty of said image is left unrecorded.
    The beauty recorded of the moments you show here gives an insight of Rebecca the photographer’s ability, to record thru capturing the moment with both pictures and words to frame the moment.
    An achievement indeed, for as I recall a radio interview of some few days ago, one can sort of liken pictures to words, as in both can live on indefinitely, bouncing around forever to come back to remind us, of the kind of pleasure you have brought to us with this wonderfully composed post in imagery and description. Thank you Rebecca, for sharing this experience.

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    • My dear Jean-Jacques, you always make my day pure sunshine. That was my first trip with a digital camera. Every time I view these photos I am reminded of the delicious gingerbread cake that was served from the lighthouse. Rich and delicately steamed, I enjoyed every bite.

      By the way, your poem “An Instant” was the inspiration for this post:

      “There’s an instant
      In man’s life clock,
      Nudges held distant
      Thus to take stock,
      Of his ebbing time…”

      Thank you!!!

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    • Thank you Paulette. Did you know that Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe were good friends? I did not know this until I read “Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe” by Laurie Lisle. And what was even more surprising to me was that Ansel was first a pianist. Who knows what pathways we will take along the journey….

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  3. Cameras have come a long way. The Kodak that my parents had and treasured was a little rectangular box with a “lid” that was pulled out. After pointing the apparatus carefully at the chosen object, the little button at the end of a wire was pushed and “wahla” the photo. This wasn’t the end, of course, the negative was taken to be developed in the “photo shop” in town. The photos from that time long ago are treasured and when we look at them we say: “That was when….” It is almost as if one is actually is at the scene. Those you are taking today will do the same. That you!

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    • I agree – when I look back on photos taken 10 years ago, memories of what we ate, what we talked about, even the weather comes back full-force. My first camera was a box camera (wish I had it now) I still have the photos of my uncle graduating from university. Your comments prompted me to look into the future of camera technology. Some interesting things in store. Now that smart phones have taken over the entry level camera market, there is a scramble to improve the upper level camera market.

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    • Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch zu einem Besuch nach. Ihre Kommentare werden sehr geschätzt. Haben Sie einen schönen Tag.

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  4. Well, you take some beautiful photographs Rebecca even with the point and shoot facility!♥

    And pictures certainly do tell a story all by themselves. I sometimes get inspired by images or art to write poetry or a story. What would we do without images on our blogs? They would be so dull without them!

    I think your image with the man among the rocks is a very striking and intriguing one. It’s the kind of picture that could be ideal for a writing prompt. What is looking at? It could be so many things! An unrepeatable moment!

    I was a bit of a student of photography when I was in my 20’s, I taught myself from piles of books and magazines. Unfortunately once I had my own home, I no longer had as much money to spent on all those lovely pictures – photography was so expensive compared to today. Then something happened to my camera which required even more money to fix, and I stupidly gave up. I have began in recent years taking pictures again with a very cheap digital camera, and like you, in most cases I also prefer the point and shoot. And it’s amazing what results we can get. I’ve been using my new phone for photography since the summer, and I actually love what that can do. Who would have thought all those years ago in the future we’d be taking wonderful pictures with a phone!! 😀

    I just thought I’d share with you a camera I’m interested in. If you are hoping one day to renew your camera, you might want to check this one out. I’m waiting for the price to lower a bit more before I buy, as they are bringing a new model out very soon – but for a Sony camera it’s incredibly cheap anyway. It’s the ‘Sony a6000’ – a mirrorless camera, with all the quality and features of a DSLR, but very compact and lightweight.

    There are a lot of professional photographers who are so thrilled with that lightweight camera, and are giving it some wonderful reviews. Here’s video, so you can see what it looks like and what it’s capable of. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr5FgRsi9_8

    I hope you don’t mind me mentioning this camera, but as someone who has a good eye for a great picture, I thought it might interest you. 🙂

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    • Thank you Suzy, for this preview of the Sony a6000. I have been doing a little research into the difference between SLR and the mirrorless option. The clarity and focus of this camera is amazing. I do hope you take up photography again. As for the smart phones – they really have changed the photography landscape and opened up new areas of artistic endeavours. Looking forward to seeing your photos!! ❤

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  5. One of my friends is an award-winning photographer. She told me that the equipment absolutely does not matter, it’s the “eye” that matters. She has taken some of her best photos – point and shoot- on little digital cameras or her phone.

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    • A very interesting comment, LaVagabonde. I wonder if the element of spontaneity comes into play. Sometimes the best moments come unexpectedly. You have given me something to thing about. Thank you!!!!

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  6. taking up with the camera this way, quite straightforwardly and relaxed can often result in something magical, having a creative eye is the key.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly. In the past, I thought that photography was only for those who were “experts.” I now realize that photography belongs to us all. With every click we tell our story and allow others to see the world through our “eyes.” In our social media world, the “likes” are the reward. But I would argue that the “true” reward comes when we look back and celebrate our time, our family/friends, our adventures. Thank you for your comments and visit – very much appreciated.

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