Are You Lost for Words? Photograph!
Every now and then I share a photography quote and my thoughts and feelings about the quote. A good quote surfaces an idea in a few well-chosen words. I love the fact that some people are so skilled with words. A quote can confirm what you already know to be true. Or it can clarify what you’re not sure about. It can also be the starting point of a thought process. That’s what I like the most about photography quotes. When they get your brain working and become an inspiration to stretch yourself.
In more ways then one I thought the best photo quote to start off the series is
“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”
– Destin Sparks, landscape photographer.
Lost for Words
There I was sitting in the garden of our hotel overlooking the Nile with my notebook and the words wouldn’t come. I love to write when I’m traveling. I keep a daily notebook from all the things I’ve experienced, all the roads we’ve traveled, all the people I’ve met. But now my pen was in my hand hovering over the paper not being able to start writing. Why was that? Why did I fail to put my experiences of the past couple of weeks in words?
I first came across this beautiful photography quote by Destin Sparks when I got back from a trip to Uganda. I had visited Uganda to photograph in the Acholi Quarter, a slum area outside Kampala.
A little background information about the Acholi Quarter.
Most of the people living there come from Acholiland in the North of Uganda. Their king gave them the land when they had to flee their homeland. Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army terrorized them between 1988 and 2006. Most of Kony’s soldiers were children.
Many of the men and women now living in the Acholi Quarter have been his victim in some form or other. Despite the daily challenge to survive most people are positive-minded. They are working hard to provide for their families.
Sense of Community
It resonated with me because that’s exactly what I had been experiencing in the Acholi Quarter. I talked to people, I saw their daily struggle but also their positive attitude. One of the first things I noticed was their strong sense of community and the desire to take care of each other.
It was an overwhelming experience and even though I came back almost five months ago I have failed to put it into words up to this day. Whenever someone asks how it was I utter a few words like impressive, beautiful, intense. But I cannot describe my experience in words.
But I did come home with a lot of photographs. They tell the story of what I experienced. They are the testimony of my encounters with the people that live there, and the feelings they evoked in me. The photos do a much better job at telling the stories of the people that live there.
They tell the story of shared humanity. Because we’re no different. Deep down we are all the same. We want the same things in life and we share the same values. That’s the story I set out to tell with my photographs. I was looking for the things we have in common as opposed to the things or the circumstances that set us apart. Because of course there’s that too.
Lost for Words? Photograph!
Photography is the best way I know how to tell the big and little stories of my life. They take me back to that place and moment in time. They preserve the memories of every journey I made.
For me, that’s one of the many powers of photography. Whenever I’m lost for words, I photograph!
Because there aren’t words to describe the overwhelming beauty around us, the intricate synchronicity of life, or the compelling world within a detail.
How about you? Do you ever feel lost for words? Do you pick up your camera to tell your stories in pictures? Let us know in the comments!
join us on social
You May Also Like.....
I’ve compiled a list of 7 at home photography ideas designed to honor the mindful nature of the photographic process. All photo projects have one ingredient in common. They revolve around the art of seeing and will, therefore, develop your observation skills. Examining your outside and inside world allows you to get into that much-desired mindful state.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes we need words to give expression to what we think and feel around a single photograph or photography in its entirety. So I actually feel that pictures and words go hand in hand most of the time. When we see a photo there’s an infinite number of reactions to that single image. We need words to articulate our reaction.
Whenever I feel lost, I pick up my camera and start to photograph. The simple act of picking up my camera in the midst of what feels like chaos creates a little overwhelm free island of time. I’m focused on creating something and when I’m photographing there’s not much else that can enter my mind. It’s what I call the mindful nature of photography and it’s healing.