Many of you have probably heard me say “still images are moments in time” and “video is time in motion”. I think and I shoot differently in each of these mediums.
It is kind of like the difference between poetry (or the lyrics of a song) and prose. In a poem, just as with the lyrics of a song, each word must “say” a whole lot just like a still photograph must convey everything in that one moment in time. When writing prose you have all those other words to connect your thoughts. To be honest, I never took any writing courses in college and I did not find myself reading books of poetry in my off time. But I did listen to a lot of music back then – still do – and there’s not a lot of difference between the lyrics of a well-crafted song and those in a poem.
When I was traveling last summer, I found myself mentally capturing images in my head as we went from destination to destination. I started to type out these random thoughts on my blackberry and because of the nature of that device and the tiny keys, I typed out my thoughts in abbreviated fashion. My intent was never to share these thoughts with anyone, let alone pretend that I could write poetry, but I did share some of them, reluctantly and with trepidation, “testing the waters” so to speak. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a dock and dipping my toe into the water while a friend egged me on and encouraged me to jump in.
I’ve continued writing my snapshots with words but I’ve become a bit more self-conscious these days with sharing these thoughts. Perhaps I’ve become more guarded or maybe just too self-conscious to share. I suppose that’s ok because what is most important is that I don’t let my own inhibitors and doubts stop me from writing. When I first started writing down these words or poems or whatever label you want to put on them, perhaps I needed to share them with someone else. I needed to test the waters and when I did I got the necessary encouragement to jump in.
These days I try not to define myself too rigidly as to who or what I am by definitions and labels like photographer, filmmaker, writer or poet. Ultimately, I use whatever tool works best to express the thoughts and stories that run through my mind. I continue to stick my toe into unfamiliar water and every now and then I get brave enough to jump in thanks to a little encouragement from my friends. I think we all need that in our lives – someone who we know we can bounce ideas off of without the fear of ridicule. As one of the subjects in my documentary beautifully stated “we’ve got to shine each other up”.