Friday, April 15, 2011

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

A picture is worth a thousand words. At least, that’s what I’ve been told, but I never really understood that phrase until recently when an agent tweeted about an interview with the 17 year old photographer, Alex Stoddard. Being the curious person I am, I thought I’d check it out and ended up spending most of my night marveling at his art. The emotions captured in his photographs are so raw that I felt myself tearing up while looking at some of them. Two, in particular, drew me in and reminded me so much of some of the characters in my novel, Saving Elizabeth.

The photograph which Alex entitled, The Forgotten Housewife, is so similar to my main character, Elizabeth. No, Elizabeth is not a housewife, but like the girl in this picture she’s bound and held captive. Elizabeth’s stronghold isn’t rope tying her to a chair. Yes, I realize there is no actual rope or string binding the girl in this picture, but that's the beauty of it. The rope is on the floor and floating in the air. So, why does she feel she has to stay there? Why can’t she just stop the rocking and get up already? She can, but it will only happen when she makes up her mind to stop it. Like this girl, Elizabeth’s struggle is internal, and she will only be at peace when she decides she isn’t going to let the anger she feels over her father’s death bind her spirit and control her any longer. Through the first half of the novel, Elizabeth thinks she has been abandoned by the God her father promised would love her no matter what. In my mind, this girl is Elizabeth. This picture sums up so many emotions that I felt, that Elizabeth felt, during the development of her story-anger, fear, isolation, confusion, abandonment.

This second photograph, entitled Arrival, reminds me so much of Gabriel, and for obvious reasons – the wings, the bright light, the otherworldly feeling. Need I say more?  

Here’s a few others I loved just because of their beauty and the emotion they convey. When I look at each of these my mind spins with story ideas.
Sanctuary                                                        The Time Traveler
The Aftermath                                                 The Love That Got Away
Hurricane Alex                                                 Rain On My Face
Blind                                                               The Book Burning
For Someone, Someday                                    It Was Summer, and We Were Happy
Forget The Pet Store                                        Your Turn With God

Are you in love with Alex’s photography yet? I hope so! Now that I’ve shared his wonderful work with you, I want to know what pictures inspire your writing. Do you have certain photos you look at while you’re fleshing out your characters? Is there a photograph that inspired the setting, the conflict, or the emotion felt in your novel? If so, please share!  Let’s all inspire each other!

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