Oct 212011

As I lead workshops on “Keeping Our Stories,” I am often intrigued by the stories participants of all ages share. At a recent workshop at the beautiful Sylva Public Library, I talked with my group about photographs and the way they lead us to stories by inviting us to think about what is happening both within and beyond the frame of the picture. I was delighted when one of the participants pulled out a photograph of her neighbor and her granddaughter–a perfect example of an image revealing a relationship, in this case, a sweet relationship.

A favorite snapshot of the paternal grandparents I never knew shows the two of them with John the mule between them. My father said that his dad was very tall. The picture shows me just how tall he was because it stopped at his shoulders. His head was above the frame. Tall, indeed. That picture leaves me wondering who held the camera and why my grandfather’s whole image wasn’t included, and why the photographer didn’t just step back a bit. I’ll never know, but I do see my grandfather’s height. My grandmother, who came just to his shoulders, was rather tall herself. I love that picture.

My book The Picture Man looks at photography as a keeper of our stories. Whether you read the book or not, why not pull out your own pictures and enjoy some family conversation over personal memories and stories of days past.

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