The purpose of this essay is to integrate the photographic process with creative writing. At first glance, one might think that the two mediums do not have much common ground. However, upon further scrutiny, one quickly discovers that is not entirely the case. Photography plays a wide and diverse role in creative writing.
When I first sat down to write this article, I was focused on the other prompt. After a few days of flipping through various photographers and their works, option B still plagued me. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about how photography could possibly be of any use inside the world of creative writing, my major. I thought of cover art first. A lot of cover art is not pictorial in its nature, most all of it now is digital, but there are covers that do use usually panoramic scenes of nature, or are closely tied to movies These novels run headshots of the stars or action sequences from the film on the cover. Another, rather common practice in which photographs appear as the covers of books is in the genre of autobiography. Biographies usually present the grinning head of the person the book is about, in what can only be considered as a creepy cross between a mug shot and a campaign photo. Therefore, I had now destroyed my original thesis that photography and creative writing were incompatible or at least separate mediums that could not benefit from the inclusion of the other. Now to see just how deep the connection seemed like a reasonable next step.
Thinking about autobiographies and photographs led me to the next connection between the two mediums. Even though I have never seen a fiction novel with a photo spread at it center that is not the case with nonfiction in general, this is especially true in two types on nonfiction, autobiography and historical accounts. I quickly recalled several instances where I had read about a person’s life and in the center of the book, that there appeared a small collection of photos that corresponded with important parts of the text.
In addition, many of the historical texts that I have been assigned during my time at university have utilized the photographic medium as an additional source of information within a given text. This information is often biographical or topical and found in either the center or the back of the text. One text in particular that came to mind, a book called Stalingrad (1) that I read for a history class I took while completing my core requirements. The book is a gritty account of combat between the Germans and the Russians during the winter of 1942. The author of the book a man named Anthony Beevor managed to find several grainy black and white stills of the fighting. These images in connection with Beevors’ writing style created an engulfing effect that spurred the reader on; forgetting that it is a historical novel the reader quickly becomes engaged with the action occurring on the page with the use of these supplemental images.
It is because of the...