I think I took this picture in the Natural History Museum, London (I think). Then, I was quite new to photography. I remember messing around with my Canon 1100D, my first ‘serious’ camera (and DSLR!), and getting frustrated, because ‘I was so rubbish at this photography.’
I was so inspired by this depiction of the crucifixion and so wanted capture what it meant to me as a Christian, on camera, that I absolutely wanted to get it right. And of course, I’d put so much pressure on myself, that I wasn’t able to enjoy what I was seeing in front of me and what I’d captured on camera. It was only when I got home and loaded up the photos on the laptop, that I could see that I’d actually done what I set out to do, which was to take a photo that summed up my faith.
In photography, we’re often told to focus on the small things that make a big difference to the picture. So, for this image, I focused on the spiked feet, because it is one of the most barbaric (and to me, evocative) aspects of the crucifixion.
Writing is a bit like that. You cannot tell or show the story at once; it must be revealed, little by little, until the end, when all is indeed, revealed. Sometimes, when I’m having difficulty describing a scene, I start off with a little; perhaps the colours of the tip of a leaf, before going to describe the leaf (or tree or forest) in further detail.
I’ve since ‘showcased’ this picture to lots of people, and each time, got a strong response from believers and non-believers alike, which just goes to show the importance of art in bringing people together.
Are you struggling with your photography writing, or are you a writer whose photography is not quite hitting the mark? Perhaps it’s time to pull back. Remember, a little at a time might be all that is needed.