Good Writing is Just Photography

You can find this event by visiting https://www.facebook.com/events/588340384533058/. I started this Facebook event over the summer mainly because I felt guilty that I haven’t been posting photos up on Facebook as often as I used to, mostly because Yearbook wouldn’t allow me to let people see the photos before the yearbook came out. I was always telling people that I have this picture of them or that I got this spectacular moment, but I could not show them at the time. I had to describe them the best I could with words. But even if I did, people were more blown away by the pictures than my descriptions of them, and I’d like to think that I’m a good writer. It turns out that even good writing can’t match photography. 

Not every writer can manually focus a lens, correctly expose an image, or compose a shot, but they can capture moments. If good writers can do just that, they might as well call themselves photographers.

The best kind of writing, to me, is the kind that is able to share unique experiences, showing us more about the human condition, not telling. We didn’t learn why not to cry wolf because someone told us not to. We learned from the story of a boy whose sheep got eaten. Humans respond better to instances that relate to other humans.

When my parents told me someone had died as a result of a street-racing collision near Heil and Brookhurst in 2004, I just shrugged it off and said, “Things happen.” When I saw the shrine with flowers, candles, pictures of the girl who died, and people around to pay their condolences while I was passing by, I stopped and asked, “Why do these things happen?” It’s one thing to say something happened; it’s another to have something to show for it.

Photography, in a way, is good writing, and good writing is writing that shows. It’s even easier than writing because pictures can speak for themselves. If I wanted to tell you that I filmed an assembly at over fifty feet above the ground on a scissor lift,  I would just show you a picture. Besides, you would believe me more. As the old adage goes, “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

I even like to think that photography is better than writing. Imagine if you were to put an essay in a picture frame and hang it above your living room fireplace. Or if you were to have a piece of paper describing your daughter (if you had one) on your desk in place of where a framed picture of your daughter should be.  Sure, it would be more clear and defined what your daughter is like. But, then again, how would we know what her smile looks like?

The next time you feel like writing a journal entry or a college essay, don’t just pick up a pencil. Take a camera with you.

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