Dissecting the Differences Between Writing and Photography
Not the obvious ones but an exploration into why one scares me more than the other
“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” — Charles Cooley
From The Beginning
When things got difficult as I developed, escaping into the faithful embrace of creativity appeared as my saving grace.
There was a small desk in my own room, a refuge where I kept pencils and Big Chief tablets bound, toned, lined newsprint.
Poems poured out of me along with drawings copying things seen in advertisements or Mad magazine. I drew dragsters and made up a character called Marshal Dill Pickle. I had never really seen it from here until now, how lucky can one guy be?
I get to make pictures and write as an adult escaping to a safer place on demand. Extreme gratitude has hit me while typing this paragraph.
Words, pictures, advertisements, TV and movies molded the love for creativity I enjoy today. It feels like my home.
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” — Neil Gaiman
The drawing became serious around age 8 and continued until I was 13. By that time I owned stacks of Mad Magazine, I love Spy V.S. Spy.
Everything changed on May, 12, 1975 when my Dad got me an inexpensive pawn shop camera. It was impossible for me to know where that would lead, now still going stronger than ever after 44 years.
When I work a route for traveling between a few dozen cities, national parks and state capitals I work without any fear, tirelessly. I lose myself completely and every obstacle is easily and effectively removed. Bliss comes to me out there.
The author in me has tried to get out along the way, but writing seemed harder, even though it’s easier in many ways. No film to develop costing a fortune, no fancy gear to lug around. Nature Photographer Magazine published my story “The Lightning Hunter” in 2004.
In my soul, I knew I’d run harder towards that desire in the near future. The time has arrived as of December 2018 when I joined Medium. Now over 170 articles and counting.
But, Now I’m Scared
In some way, it seems like there shouldn’t be much of a difference. However, early on I decided that I could create a photograph and just offer it up for viewing, people could stop and enjoy it, or walk on by.
The choice to chose what tickles our senses is a wonderful freedom.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” — Thomas Merton
So why is it different for writing?
My brain just presented the memory of a quote from Anne Lamott, she said, “If they wanted me to write better things about them, they should have treated me better.”
Hearing that helped give me the courage to write about experiences and behaviors others may have forced onto me. It was their deeds so why am I so fearful about sharing them?
Because I still care what they think and hold out hope relations can be repaired and made beautiful and whole again. Even when I set out in an attempt to write something further from the bone, I still can only generate content that’s been molded by the path I’m traveling.
I look forward to the time when I can write more freely and let go of the attachment to what others think, like I’ve done with photography.
Although tedious, I even finding myself trying to blend the two mediums, words and pictures like this…
Every act of creation is first an act of destruction. — Pablo Picasso
Truly Finding and Committing to Myself
My ultimate goal is to have what I create with a camera, pencil or computer keyboard grow enough energy to sustain my walk on this planet.
I am promising myself with you as a witness, I’ll get there very soon.
Stay tuned, Cheers!
If you made it this far and I hope you did, please let me hear your reaction in a comment. What Medium do you prefer in your art? Is there more than one? Can you make choices to lead that creative gift to completely support you? What you write in a comment could touch another life.
I hope you found some value in this article, if you did please follow the links below for more of my recent work, maybe another will resonate.
© Christopher Boswell 2019. All Rights Reserved.
When Christopher isn’t writing from wherever, he can be found traveling or capturing photographs somewhere in the United States. He may be generating Graphic Design, building a website, processing images or video, flying his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, wrangling dogs, or backpacking and kayaking. He lives in Tacoma, WA. We invite you to learn more about Christopher at Real Window Creative