Have you done any people watching lately? Last time we looked at Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.
Aside from knowing that a picture is worth 1000 words, a picture evokes 1000 stories.
If I showed a picture to a dozen students and told them to write a story based on it, I got a dozen unique and varied responses.
If I did this with 1000 students, guaranteed, they’d each have a different combination of character interactions, dialogs, motives, and plots.
As I’ve said before, I revel in this creative diversity. And we each inherently have this innovative ability because we’re made in God’s image. See “Chickens at the State Fair.”
Whether you’re a story writer or not, your own creativity can shine with a little people watching.
This time, we’ll take a look at a black and white photo by Charles F. Walton from the 1930s.
What story is being suggested? You may “change” the setting to someplace other than New South Wales.
Take a few minutes to just immerse yourself in this picture. Then think about these questions. There are no right or wrong answers! You’re calling the shots.
- Why are these young people reading the newspaper all at once?
- What are the headlines?
- Why is the girl standing in the doorway?
- What or who is that girl in the doorway looking at and why?
- Where is that lady on the far right coming from?
- Are all the kids on the curb related or are they neighbors?
- What are the relationship dynamics among them?
- Why is the girl on the left standing off by herself?
- Whose laundry is hanging? Who hung it? Where is that person?
- What is the tone/mood/atmosphere of this particular day?
- What brought these people to this point in their lives (one or all)?
- Who is the main character (protagonist)?
- What are their personalities? (one or all)
- What are their moods?
- What is a typical day like for them?
- How often do they sit here and read the paper and why?
- What do they aspire to?
- Where do they wish they were instead?
So many story possibilities! All in one picture.
So . . . how would YOU answer some of the questions above about this picture? What story do you see unfolding . . . and whose story is it?
I welcome your comments below!
P.S. Coming soon: an artist whose palette paints glimmers of hope for a broken world