Saturday, March 31, 2012

On, In, and Around Mondays: The Power of Presence in Photos & Writing

Purple Wildflowers

"It has presence," I said.

I was trying to explain why the photograph worked.

A few days later, I was reading Edward Hirsch, and found this: "Poems are presences."

The two events have been on my mind all morning.

What gives a sense of presence?

I look at the photograph of the purple wildflowers, taken at the side of the horse trail. I had to bend all the way down, get impossibly close to their tiny selves to get that shot. I believe *proximity* is one element that gives the photo a sense of presence.

The green flowers on the counter (below). My daughter brought them in from a walk. She'd noticed their intricacies and thought I would find them beautiful. I did. The light on the counter was lovely, so I placed the flowers there and went to get my camera. Of all the shots I took, I realize this one is best because of the angle: it implies a sense of approach, a coming upon. Yes, then, a presence.

Green Flowers

The trees are so much further away. Can presence be found at a distance? I think it can. The angles of the trees, the shadows, the subtle standing-over (I was on a hill, and took the shot downwards), these all imply encounter, aliveness, presence-to-presence.

Trees & shadow

I want to make my poems be presences, like Hirsch claims they are. I want to make all my writing have presence. I am thinking this morning about the photographs. What do they have to teach me?

Proximity, point-of-view, angle, framing, contrast. Harder, for me, in words. I must create and recreate images, as if I am that woman on the horse trail, showing you—for the first time—the purple wildflowers whispering near her toes.

On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.

If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

On In Around button

This post is also shared with Laura Boggess, for...

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Blogger Maureen said...

Beautiful images.

Words that put you "there", allow the reader to experience: yes, poems can do that.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Dolly said...

Your photos and your words always have your presence to me...I hope one day when I write, I can do the same with so few words.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too want my writing to have presence...

11:05 AM  
Blogger Shanda said...

I love that idea: that photos are presences. Poetry has been around so much longer and has endured. Photos will too!

10:54 PM  
Blogger Joe Pote said...

Thankful, this morning, for His presence, sensed in your words!

6:59 AM  
Blogger My Offering said...

I love the thoughts you share here, on all you see through photographs, and the deeper meaning, the poetry experienced through the capturing... Very thoughtful and insightful and gives me much to ponder on... Today I shared about the Women's Wellness Weekend I just attended, and this post transfers to me thinking about the proximity of the relationships, the new friendships forged and created through this experience.

7:28 AM  
Anonymous kd sullivan said...

I want to do this as well. You have given "presence" to how to write a poem with "presence". This is such a detailed point of view, something I can chew on for some time. Thank you.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Messy Marriage said...

I've never thought about the "presence" that a photo has. I could see what you were describing and I will keep this in mind the next time I write or take a photograph. Thanks for this insight.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

I'm watching your photos and reading your words. I find myself swaying in my chair, as if to gentle music.

It's good. Your work here calls me to be present.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Lisa notes... said...

What gives a sense of presence? What a wonderful thought to ponder.

I ended an email this morning with a prayer that the Lord’s presence would be obvious to my friend today. I wonder in which ways He will answer that...

9:51 AM  
Blogger Alicia said...

I love the idea of presence in a poem. Love the idea of His presence in this poem of my life. Thanks for the image to ponder.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This post reminded me of something Bridget Riley said, "The music of color, that's what I want." Beautiful photographs. Thank you.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

Thank you for sharing that Photos and Poems can give us a sense of "presence". And a sense of presence leads to a sense of the presence of God.

I'm glad you can see -- and comment on -- such beauty everywhere, even tucked away in small places.

May God bless you today and touch your heart with his presence. (But even when we aren't actually "aware" of his presence," he is there right with us.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Sandra Heska King said...

I want my writing to have presence, too.

And your presence in your writing is a present.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Sylvia Robertson said...

You have me thinking about my writing, have left me good thoughts to keep, and use to evaluate. I do want presence in my writing. This kind, and His. Thank you much for this post.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Shaunie @ Up the Sunbeam said...

As someone who thinks of her camera as one of her favorite teachers, I love this post!! YES to all of it! May I join you in wanting every picture I take and every word I write to drip with presence? Thank you for this!

11:10 AM  

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