When a word is worth a thousand pictures

I was recently reading over old blog posts and I noticed a big difference in my style of writing. Well for a start my spelling and grammar is a lot better; mainly that’s thanks to a really good friend of mine, who hides behind a screen with me every Thursday. But the good habits I used to exhibit were so much stronger than they are now. When and why did I lose these good habits? I can’t figure it out. And now making that conscious effort is awkward and hard. Have I just become lazy in how I write and what I do?

I would like to think that I’ve improved in my photography since I first started out, but for all those times that it wasn’t up to scratch I relied on my words. I recently attended an exhibition where photography was not allowed; not the general ‘no flash’ rule, but a strict ban on taking any pictures. It got me thinking about what it would be like if I didn’t photograph as much as I currently do at exhibitions, music events and other activities with friends or by myself. How would I be able to capture such visuals to share with others or to remind myself that beauty surrounds us all the time? They say that a picture is worth a thousand words but don’t underestimate the power of words themselves.

From my deep slumber I slowly wake. It’s the double alarm that going off: one shrill, accompanied by constant, vicious vibrations; the other, a more gentle sound that caresses my ears and mind with soothing music. Shadows linger far and wide, and with the sunrise starting late it’s getting harder and harder to wake up. The struggle between hiding away under the covers and the knowledge of having to get up is a constant battle one undertakes on a daily basis.

Each day varies from a bright sunny day, blue skies tricking one into thinking that it might be warm, to a flat grey sky. Once up, I’m up, there is no turning back and diving for the covers. Earl Grey is my preferred tipple as I go through my morning motions. The storms have come and some gusts of wind make my heart beat faster while I walk towards my bus stop. To walk or to bus is the frequent question of the morning. As a morning commuter the rule is only to wait if the bus will be 1 -2 minutes, and to walk on if not. Mostly the gaggle of school kids deter the adults into walking.

I’m normally the first to appear in my office. A set number of hours, 5 times a week, I must fulfil. My days are dominated by trying not to burn my skin during the countless times I step up to boil the kettle and make that delicious elixir of the chosen flavour of the day, fast processing of endless articles that I have no external interest in — making it easier for me not to take my work home — and compiling letters to make words for future scheduling. Chained to a desk I spend the rest of my time fidgeting and taking short breaks from the office to wander around the building, normally with a book. It’s only a page or two that I promise myself, on the fire escape steps.

After the day of pixel-staring and keyboard-clacking, my mind is free and I’m allowed to leave. The streets are already darkened, only lit by the glow of other offices where people still work. Though I am always hit by the chilled air when I leave and say goodbye, I am warmed by the knowledge that I won’t return to work until the next weekday. The main road is always filled with people and brighter lights, mainly from car headlights and interiors of shops. They try to entice me in but all I want is to get on my train. I slip through the crowds watching the silent painted figures lined up before the plaza. Some days a bright something catches my eye and I wish that I had my camera to capture that bright spark. Other times I’m already deep in thought once I’ve crossed those cobblestones.

I always choose to sit on the left side of the carriage, just so I can have some pure beauty. The night has already come and I sink into my seat a little more. Normally one of the first to be seated, I watch others walk on with ease or some puffing away like their bodies have been lit and their fires are producing steam. If the carriage lights were to dim we would still be illuminated by the unhealthy glow from our screens. So many are fixed in this obsession that it’s rare to see any form of paper.

I’m over the bridge, and I’m plunged further into the night. Lights only reveal what they want to, giving dull buildings a mysterious air. A subtle glow here and there entices the eye. I can see into the lives of the inanimate and the animated only for a glimpse and away I go. It is almost like these lights are bidding commuters a thousand times good night. I can feel the lull of the train pulling my eyelids closed; I blink more slowly as we race through stations. Thankfully, it is only 4 stops before I can voluntarily thrust myself into the cold night air. I’m left to ponder a repeat of my morning question, to bus or not to bus. But either way I know I am almost home.

Your journey with me ends here and it still all comes down to words.

Thanks for reading. I’m a photographer, writer and always on a constant quest for knowledge. You can see and follow my visual adventures in various places . . .