Thursday, 6 October 2011

Are words more powerful than photographs?

I think so. Photos show the superficial. You don’t get to see the thoughts, the before and the after. On the other hand they can be pieces of art, carefully framed, pleasing to the eye... except when I’m behind the camera. I’m very much a novice. If one of my photos is pleasingly framed, it’ll be a complete accident but I’m working on my skills. I’ve just signed up to the 365 Project which means that I’m posting a photo a day on this website.

I suppose the idea behind it is to produce a diary in picture form. If this was a written diary I would have no problems. I could record and relive any number of experiences in just a few short sentences but as you’re only allowed one photo each day I’m finding it difficult... and I’ve gone and set off in my usual unplanned panster style. The first two photos were of the cats [naturally]. The second two were flowers in the garden and now I’m wondering, should I decide on a theme or should I just snap and post?

This was yesterday’s contribution. It’s a close-up of a dead clematis head but it looked so pretty sitting amongst the yellowing leaves that I thought I’d capture it. [Between you and me I’m a bit pleased and a lot surprised at how it came out.]

Today’s contribution could be a lunch table filled with food... provided I remember to get my camera out. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve arrived home from a visually spectacular outing and realised that, although my camera was in my bag, I’ve not used it once! Today is my book group/ladies who lunch time again. We each take a dish to contribute to the meal and it always works deliciously. All I’ve got to do is to remember to take a photo before we’ve eaten it all.

What theme would you choose for a 365 Project or would you be a panster? 


  1. I thought that picture was of some posh lady's headgear :-)

    If I was doing the 365 project, I'd definitely be a pantser. I'd snap what ever took my fancy each day. Or, more likely, I'd photograph some random object late at night because I'd forgotten to post something :-)

  2. I would be a total pantser and probably dash it off without thinking at the last minute! No themes for me :)

    Your clematis really is beautiful - excellent photo!

  3. I thought it was a fascinator too! But it is a lovely photo the colours are so pale and delicate. I would take photos of babies and children at play as I love the serious expressions on their faces as they concentrate on whatever they're doing. Good luck with the photos, look forward to seeing them.

  4. That's a beautiful photo! I'd be a panster all the way! I never know what I'm going to blog about until the actual day, and I can imagine I'd be the same with something like this.

  5. Beautiful photo Rosalind. The 365 Project looks interesting - I think I may join in.

  6. Oh I don't know...half eaten serving dishes can make an interesting photo too, don't yo think.

    I am always doing that, putting the camera in the bag, hauling it around all day long and never taking it out to take a photo. How often I kick myself over that one. LOL! Hope your lunch was interesting, tasty and full of fun.

  7. Ooooh. 365 sounds really neat. I might just do it to do it, but probably on my own. Hmm, I'd be a pantser.

  8. Sorry I've missed some of your posts. Winter will give me more time to be on the computer. I had to look up panster..... wasn't in any of my dictionaries but they are as ancient as I am and this sounds like a newer word. Now I know what it is and thank you for adding to my vocabulary. :) I guess I'm a planner. A photo a day. WOW. That dead clematis is interesting. Or how about Einstein on a bad hair day. Love to you.


  9. Today is day 280 of my 365 and to be honest I would feel that the there is no one answer to your question of a theme/pantser. In my experience there are advantages and disadvantages to both. I'd suggest that aside from trying to decide whether or not to use a single theme, you should also consider, what it is you want to get out of doing the project. I am photographer and for me I have a number of goals, such as working outside my normal comfort zone, try things I have not done before, above all I have been striving to shoot with integrity and creativity. I certainly have not succeeded with every one of my 279 shots to date. I do urge honesty with yourself, I look back at each month, see what I like and where I failed, to endeavour to avoid making the same mistake twice. But remember, a 365 is (or at least for me) a very personal journey, you are challenging yourself, you are competing with yourself and not others. Looking back I reckon I'm pleased with about 8% of my shots, this is an honest estimate and it's a hit rate I'm pleased with. I shoot digital now, I used to shoot film and when shooting film I was pleased with a success rate of about 2%.

    Coming back to your question of whether to go with a theme. Theme's can help as it can help plan shots in advance, but if you are doing a theme it can also stifle creativity to a certain extent as it may stop you taking a shot you see because it doesn't fit your theme. For me, often photography is about a new way of seeing, looking at the world around you with a new perspective, for example get down low, things look different or look down, we rarely do it.

    I have done a number of mini-themes, and it can help. One of my own challenges was people photography and in particular portaits of strangers. It was something way out of my comfort zone, but now, I have no hesitation in approaching strangers to ask if I can take their photo. One mini theme I've been running through the project is Environmental Portaits, people in their working environments, it's something I really enjoy now and I've taken a few that I feel work very well.

    Don't underestimate the size of the task, I don't say that to discourage you, I've my 365 to be mentally challenging and almost exhausting at times, but then you get a shot and it makes it all worth while.

    The other thing to think about, is whether or not to add a narrative to your shot. Sometimes I do and other times I don't, simply because at times I like to add my thinking or the background to a shot. Whereas other times I prefer the shot to speak for itself.

    I'd urge you to keep in mind your thought "Photos show the superficial. You don’t get to see the thoughts, the before and the after." I don't happen to completely agree with that. In short, for me, a photograph is capturing a moment in time, that moment could be 1 250th of a second long. It can at times convey how a photographer sees the world or capture the emotion of the scene or subject. Sometimes a photograph will convey that, sometimes it will leave the viewer wondering what happened before, after or why the photographer took the photo. Photo's can evoke emotion, possibly not the same emotion the photographer felt. As I said sometimes I do match words with photos. I completed a photobook during the summer as a side project and I know that it moved some people to tears, others didn't like it because it chilled them - for me the fact that it evoked emotion, meant that I had done well. The whole subject you raise of photo Vs words is a great topic for discussion and it's something that deserves a long chat of a cuppa or a pint.

    Whatever you do, fly by the seat of your pants, pick a theme, mini themes, I wish you luck, enjoyment and an interesting journey. If you end up with a photo you don't like, post it and move on but always stop to enjoy your successes.

    If are interested, I blog my 365 at

    Sorry for waffling on so long.

    Keep shooting ...


    Loved that photo .. the dead clematis head looks so soft and fluffy .. and you've got the light just right - cut off the head .. so it's not obvious what the picture is about .. and yes you could write a whole story around those little tendrils of seeds (not the correct botanical terminology) .. I'm looking forward to seeing 360 and counting down ... Cheers for now - Hilary

  11. Hi Sarah, I’d rather like a hat like that... even though I’m not posh. I’m thinking that shots late at night might be rather interesting!

    Hi Susanna, that’s what I fear for myself but I may find that I start thinking ‘photograph composition’ as I get on with my day *ideal world*

    Hi Cassam, I like the idea of babies and children but as my grandkids live far away I think I might get myself into trouble if I started photographing children all over the place.

    Hi Talli, I’m the same with my blog. Sometimes I sit down to write one thing and end up writing about something completely different so I suspect my photo project will be along similar lines!

    Hi Bob, and thanks. Do come along. It would be good to see some more familiar faces there.

    Hi Ann, now you’re suggesting half-eaten lunches when the plates have been cleared and washed up! You’re quite right of course. I need to think more creatively with this project.

    Hi Kelley, hope you manage but I know that there’d be no way I could do this sort of thing on my own. I don’t have the staying power!

    Hi Manzanita, don’t worry about missing posts. It’s lovely to see you whenever you manage to pop along and I’m so proud that I’ve taught you a ‘new’ word even if I’m not sure myself about it. I have to admit to spelling it two ways and going back and altering it. I think it’s spelt correctly now but as it’s not in the dictionary, who knows!

    Hi David and thank you so much for your most helpful reply. I’d really like to develop my creativity through this project and take unexpected, unusual shots. I need to loosen up a bit first though, like I’ve just said to Ann, shooting half empty plates rather than full ones would be a start!

    Hi Hilary, tendrils of seeds might not be the correct term but it describes them so well. Sorry you’re still having trouble accessing my comments box but I’m happy to post up anyone’s comments if they’re having similar problems.

  12. I am also more of a panster than a plotter. Like Manzie, I rushed over to find the definition! Today's photo is very unique. You have wonderful instincts and should go with them. Maybe you should wear a raincoat to your next book group luncheon,and photograph a food fight! Julie

  13. Beautiful photo! I'm a panster. And a weenie too. But I hope to come back and check out your photos. You're very good, Rosalind. :-)

  14. When it comes to writing, I'm a plotter. But when it comes to photography, i'm definitely a pantser. :D

    Happy weekend!


  15. I want to join in!
    This looks like a fun project, and obviously I'll approach it the same as I do with my writing. Panster style of course...although I fancy doing some themes too.


  16. I saw on twitter that you were doing this. So fun! I wish I could take good photographs, but mine never turn out the way I want them to!

    Best of luck. It is quite the challenge, but very exciting. ;)



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