Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Study in Contrasts...And More

Thunderheads Over Haviland Lake
         Molly Anderson-Childers' photograph of clouds, earth, and water is a study in contrasts. Overhead, the clouds dominate the scene. In the middle distance, a darkened land mass appears. In the foreground, a body of water completes the scene.
        What can we write about the differences between the clouds, the earth, and the water? What could these elements of the photo symbolize? Does the land mass appear to be menacing? What is the relationship between the clouds and the water? What might we find beyond the horizon? What feelings and emotions does the photograph inspire?
        "For a year," writes Molly, "Haviland Lake was my closest neighbor. We slowly got to know each other, shyly unfolding little bits of ourselves, and eventually we became friends. The lake is beautiful in every season, and it's one of my favorite places to create photos which then become inspiration for writing."
        As a writer, artist, and photographer in Durango, Colorado, Molly Anderson-Childers is surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of the San Juan Mountains. You can find more of her inspiring work at and 

What Do You See in a Glass Block?

     Here's a black and white version of a glass block that was shown in color at stealingplums (above).  Click on the photo to enlarge it. If you missed the color version and would like to see it, please contact me. I          captured this image with a Voightlander 35 mm lens mounted on a Leica M9. Except for cropping the image and transforming it from color to black and white to color, I didn't alter it in Photoshop.                                    
         To see more of my black and white and color images, please visit and click on ALL ALBUMS. There you'll discover photos you can download for free  and use in your classroom as supplements to those you'll find in Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing 
       What do you see in a glass block? Most students would probably scratch their heads and give you the all-too-familiar "look" that communicates boredom. But if you encourage them to look more closely at an enlarged version of the photo, they'll probably respond with some interesting comments.
       Are the images shown in the photo pleasant to look at? How do they make you feel? If you didn't know that the subject of the photo is a glass block, what would you say it is? Can you imagine and describe a person or an object when you study the photo closely? What is the significance of the curved lines? What do they remind you of?
       These are just a few of the many questions you can ask students during class discussion before you turn them loose to write their masterpieces.
       Finally, to read an interesting article about using photographs to inspire writing, go to the National Writing Project at  And to read my ten-part series on photo-writing prompts, please visit

A Surprise from National Geographic

        In two previous installments of this blog I discussed the use of black and white photos as opposed to color photos. That's why I was delighted to read the following information in National Geographic (July 2010, page 12. "Color is great, but don't forget black and white. Nearly any kind of image--whether it's an unusual street street scene or wave-lashed rocks in a violent storm--can gain subtlety and depth in monochrome." You can see samples at

Coming Soon   
Sweet Little Babies by Cynthia Staples
Guest Blog by Molly Anderson-Childers 
Enigmatic Photo by Paul Stubbs
Student Photo Contest by Stephanie Susan Smith, Ph.D

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