How many stories in an ordinary moment?



Everywhere we go, everywhere we look, there is so much more to what we see than we can take in, process, and remember. Life is made of stories. Even in an ordinary moment such as this, there is more than one subject. We observe that there are children in the foreground, people milling about in the background. They are in a certain place , all doing different activities, looking different directions. There are hints about who they are by who they are with, what they are doing, what they carry with them or have near them.

I know for a fact that the bicycle belongs to Cape Cleare Salmon; it is one way they deliver fresh salmon around town. I can tell you that this is a farmers market, and that the girls are listening to music. I overheard they are visiting with family from California, and they don’t want the sun to come out. I can tell you that this photo was taken in a town in the Pacific Northwest. The rest is now left up to your imagination… isn’t that what we mostly do when we people-watch.

With a photo, we capture a moment but give ourselves as many opportunities as we wish to look and reflect upon it again. If it’s a image with people, like this one, we have time to find more clues as to who we think they are , that is, how we chose to think of them based on the information we gather. One of the best outcomes is to learn more about ourselves, how we process visual information that comes through our eye-gate, even our other senses of smell and hearing, and our perceptions of those we encounter or view in a photograph.

As “ordinary” as this black and white image is… we can find one story or more stories, and with a little imagination craft an interesting one.


Here’s an image from my collection of street photography. What’s your first impression? Look again. One or more stories possible? Now what does your imagination beg you to write about these guys walking down the street?



“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt



I often drink from a black mug that reads “We do not remember days, we remember moments. – Cesare Pavese” wrapped around one side in white text. Pavese was an Italian poet, novelist, literary critic and translator who died the very summer I was born.

This quote has be one I have reflected on over and over throughout my life and am convinced it is true, absolutely true. I have many moments of my own that make a beautiful string of translucent pearls connecting beautiful moments in my life, others are like dimly lit figures stationed along the roadside on a dark night… haunting and I wish were forgettable.

Moments of significant impact have a stickiness to our recollection of past experiences that latch on to our shell, embed in our mind, warms or troubles our heart, lightening or weighing down the load we carry with us along our journey.

Having reflected further on the notion that “we (indeed) remember moments” for the past few months, I’ve made the decision to become a collector of “moments”, to preserve in a special archive of those who share their’s with me, our collective human experience one moment at a time. I have ordered myself a high quality recorder and microphone that I will use in the studio and out in the field. As soon as I have a collection to air, I will share the link to the audio-archive.

Street Photography-Visual Storytelling

I have been so inspired by the street photography of Vivian Maier that I have taken my camera and begun walking the streets of my own home town to see what I can see, while getting some exercise. While approaching the intersection of 8th and Park, this young father with child caught my eye.

Here we have the same image, one color and one black and white. Click images to enlarge. How does color or the lack thereof affect your impression of this moment and overall scene? Of the two images, which one inspires your imagine the most and why? What impression or story is unfolding in your mind?