Just when you think you’ve come up against a deadline and you have nothing to write about, “Bang!”; you’re whacked in the head with an idea. That’s what happened on Saturday, and that’s the reason for the big dent in the side of my head.
I tossed my camera into my bright orange bag the way I used to when I worked as a reporter. There was always something to take pictures of in those days, and most pictures — the good ones, anyway — told a story. The bonus was that a solid prayer on bended knee in the darkroom could produce a good picture. A good picture could be enlarged to massive size. Readers loved it, but no one loved it more than me.
Big pictures take up lots of space and fill gaping “holes” quickly, meaning I had to write only a brief caption before we wrapped up the newspaper spreads and put them on an airplane that would take them down south for printing. I loved big pictures then, and I still do. A big picture gives you lots of detail and can make you feel part of the picture in just the same way a good story will.
As a newspaper photographer, I also learned to get in close to the action. I hated the weight of a big lens and much preferred to take my close up shots up close. The interaction of being close to the subject almost always lead to interesting conversations and tidbits of information that I’d have never gotten farther away with a longer lens.
So, that’s what last week as wheat straw blew from an auger and accumulated in my hair. I was reminded of the importance of detail, sharply focusing on the subject, staying close to the action, and how changing perspective can dramatically change the story the picture would tell. The same elements that make great photos make great stories.
The “one or two” photos I planned to snap at the old-time threshing demonstration to celebrate the centennial of Evergreen Park turned into about 60 or 70, and the stories flowed like the grain from the full hopper — thick, fast and regular. It was a great day for images, both literal and figurative.
In addition to the stories that I quickly jotted down the next day, were the requests from people who assumed I was a reporter, and who wanted copies of the photos. If you’re reading this, and you’re one of them, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll show you what I have.
© 2012 Sue Farrell Holler