Whether I’m shooting personal art, a documentary photography project, or a corporate or community event, I strive for my photos to tell stories. I often advise my clients that if a picture is not worth a thousand words, don’t use it. I subscribe to Lenswork, an excellent podcast in which photographer and publisher Brooks Jensen speaks great wisdom about photography and the creative process. He sometimes discusses thought-provoking parallels between seemingly divergent art forms, such as writing or music, and how the creative process of making all art is the same. One episode that really struck me was his comments on Stephen King’s book, On Writing, and how crafting a work of literature is no different than crafting a work of visual art. Though the tools may be different, the necessary process, discipline, and thinking all run parallel.
I admit that I haven’t yet read the book, but it’s approaching the top of my reading list. In the meantime, I came across this fantastic blog entry on MovieLine.com, “David Mamet’s Master Class Memo to the Writers of The Unit (click here to read it). Good writers are expert storytellers, and they have a lot to share with visual artists in editing their work to tell a concise and dramatic story, whether it is with one work or the succession of multiple pieces. I couldn’t have said it any better, so I hope you’ll read Mamet’s memo and put it to use, whatever type of art you like to create. (Warning: There’s some foul language in the memo, but that shouldn’t be a surprise; the writer is, after all, David Mamet!)