Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Power of Photographs to Inspire Writing

Words and pictures can work together to communicate more powerfully than either alone.
                                                                William Albert Allard American Photogrpaher

Creative Concepts 5

         What do you do when your brain becomes oatmeal, your fingers become lead, and you watch the cursor on your monitor blink endlessly without moving even one millimeter? Brew another cup of coffee? Vacuum the rugs? Take the dog out for a walk? Pray for inspiration?
            “I wasn’t born to vacuum rugs,” writes Elizabeth Guy, poet, storyteller, and co-author of Reflect and Write.  “That’s why, when my brain turns to stone while I struggle for new ideas, I use photographs for inspiration.”
A New Photo Every Week

            Whether you’re a teacher, a student, an aspiring writer, a professional writer, or a poet, you’ll discover that the photos and ideas posted here during the coming weeks will help you overcome the dreaded “writer’s block,” while at the same time inspiring you to create new and exciting works of prose and poetry.
            Sometimes direct quotations will accompany the photos. At other times, suggested first lines will serve as motivation for writing. Occasionally, specific suggestions will present challenges. From time to time, keywords will stimulate ideas.
            For more information about using photos to inspire writing, click on these links:, as well as
            Please note: feel free to download the photos for your personal use as inspiration; for use in classrooms or workshops; or for use in your blog with credit to Hank Kellner and a link to For commercial use please contact the author for rates.

The Amazing Adventures of Avenger Woman

This photo is supposed to show a brand new super heroine named Avenger Woman, but it's really a photo of a section of a mural in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Of course, you could use almost any other similar photo if you if you want to have some fun while encouraging your students to create fanciful compositions.
Not as well known as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, or Cat- woman, Avenger Woman is said to be a descendant of the Aztec god Quitzelpickelpetal. By day she is an English teacher at a high school, where she is known as Ms. Consuela Hernandez. By night, she fights crime all over the world, and even in outer space.
           Avenger Woman's last amazing adventure took place at a mall in Anytown, USA, where she thwarted an attempt by the evil Doctor No-No-No to kill everyone at the mall by releasing poison gas into it. Using her unique ability to discern what others are thinking, Avenger Woman was able to enter the mind of her opponent and, disarm him, and cause him to freeze in place until the police arrived.
After conducting a discussion based on superheroes and super heroines, you could ask your students or peers to write descriptions of Avenger Woman in which they depict the clothing she wears when she is a teacher as contrasted to the clothing she wears as a super heroine. Students may also discuss Avenger Woman's physical abilities, as well as any other extraordinary super powers she has. Alternatively, aspiring writers may choose to create original super heroines or superheroes about whom to write.
Keywords: extraordinary, superhero, champion, heroine

Suggested Opening Lines: My math teacher was so timid the kids in my class called her Ms. Powderpuff–behind her back, of course. Many years passed before I discovered that…

Coming Next Week 

A World Without Color

And Don’t Miss…  

       English teacher Mara Dukats and writer-photographer Cynthia Staples’ poems “White and White” and “The Absence of Color.” They’re in Part Four of my twelve-part series USING PHOTOS TO INSPIRE WRITING at and Anna J. Small’s writing assignment in "Viewing and Writing about Photos from Around the World"
       Also, read more about Reflect and Write in the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL 

Two Books That Will Help to Inspire Writing 

         Reflect and Write contains more than 300 poems and photos; keywords; quotations; either “Inspiration” or “Challenge” prompts; a “Themes to Explore” section; a “Twelve Ways to Inspire Your Students” section; a special “Internet Resources” section, and more. This collection will help stimulate discussion that will trigger meaningful writing at many levels.  Includes CD with photos and poems from the book.
    Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy , ISBN 978-1-61821-023-4, Prufrock Press, 2013, 153 pages, $24.95. See more and order at

          Write What You See: 99 Photos to Inspire Writing is a collection of photographs and writing prompts designed to inspire writing. In addition to the many photos and ideas it presents, this collection includes a section that cites “Ten Ways to Use Reflect and Write” as well as a second section titled “How Some Teachers Use Photos to Inspire Writing” An added bonus is a CD with photos and writing prompts.
        Write What You See: 99 Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner, Prufrock Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-877673-83-2, 118 pages, includes CD, $24.95.  See more and order at



No comments: