As a consumer, I prefer to purchase things that are what they are. I decorate in earth tones, drink from real glass containers, and cook our meals from scratch. I don’t like a lot of frills, fake wood furniture pieces, or artificial landscaping. I think perhaps I am looking for a simple framework to limit the chaos in my imagination (and in my social media universe).
But in spite of my preferences in these areas, when I pull out my camera and walk into the world, I don’t want to be limited. I am constantly asking things to be more than they are, and I have found that in nature, I am often given the gift of possibility, as the simplest of things tell stories of what they could be, suggesting that perhaps they are more than I see.
When I made the image above, I was photographing a series of textures at a beach on the California coast. That day, I didn’t know how to photograph the “big picture” of the land opening out into the sea, and as I was chasing my three children around the sand to make sure they were safe, I simply focused on what I could see from where I was.
In that moment I saw only textured stone, but this image opened itself into a full landscape anyway – earth, forest, and clouded sky – painted in colors that seemed to reflect another world the stone had never seen. In being what it was, in having met the water that washed it into something new right where it stood, it became something more than I had expected it to be.
Nature is not limited by its definition, and it often reminds me through its almost imaginative otherness that I am not defined by my own limitations. Lynn, who participated in our last prompt, started this train of thought for me with her poem describing an azalea…
like a hedonist.”
Her words both pushed me deeper into “wonder” and opened a new universe to me where things come alive, filling the world with personality and suggesting beauty where I might never have thought to find it.
This month, let’s find “possibility” in nature. Look for something in nature that sparks your imagination, something that might be something else, if you look closer. Let’s explore how something being what it is where it is may become something else entirely and bring more meaning into the world.
This is a fun prompt for playing with abstract photo ideas. I often find shapes and faces in the textures of my photos, lace in the shade of plants or trees, rivers mapped through sand streaks on sidewalks, dancers in the twirl of flower petals. Sometimes, I intentionally blur my images to make “watercolor” impressions of my subjects; sometimes I increase contrast to accentuate the light within the darkness.
Whatever you choose, have some fun with this prompt. Push your camera to do something it hasn’t done (wing those dials and push those buttons a bit!), let your eye see something it may not have seen before.
WRITE A POEM
If you’re using words and writing a poem for this prompt, I want to limit you a little bit so you can reach for possibility. This month, tell me a story about the photo I have shared above. What emerges for you when you see these colors or this texture? Is it a memory? Is it a fairytale? I want to know what you see here; I want to be moved beyond what I have already seen.
Once you make your photo or poem, post it on Instagram, on your blog, on Pinterest, or on a public Facebook post, and please share the link with us at Tweetspeak Poetry in the comment box.
Be sure to post your submission by Friday, June 22. I will be collecting a few favorites to feature next month!