Single Shot Stories No. 001 (And How You Can Contribute!)

Single Shot Stories No. 001 (And How You Can Contribute!)

2000 1125 Jeb Inge

There’s truth to the adage that a photo is worth a thousand words. As is often the case here at Casual Photophile, photos can be worth many more words than that.

There’s always a story behind every image. Whether it’s a lifetime of expectation leading to the perfect landscape taken on top of a mountain after a days-long journey, the vision of a brand in a magazine editorial, the hours of practice that preceded the shot of the walk-off little league homerun, or the absolute randomness brought on by creative block — the stories our photos tell are as varied as the lives we lead and are always informed by the experiences of the person behind the camera.

In an effort to give our community the chance to tell their stories, we’ve created a new series we’re calling Single Shot Stories, and the premise is simple. Every Single Shot Story will highlight a single image from a photographer or Casual Photophile reader, along with the details of its creation and the story behind the photo as written by the person who shot it.

To give an idea for what it should look like, I took the liberty of being the first to submit a Single Shot Story, which you’ll find below.

Photographer: Jeb Inge
Camera/Lens: Nikon L35AF, 35mm f/2.8 “Nikon Lens”
Film: Agfa Vista 200
Location: Mount Vernon, Virginia

Story: I always have been and will be a sucker for historical tourism. If someone once did something of note on a particular piece of land, and they’re giving tours? I will pull off the highway to hand them money for a ticket. I was essentially raised in tents located within close proximity to national parks and houses of historic repute. I even spent my college years working for the National Park Service. So on a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. from Richmond, a stop at Mount Vernon was mandatory.

I remember arriving just as the park opened, and feeling a little underwhelmed by the whole thing. Call me a Jefferson Head, but Monticello impressed me much more than the home of the first president. (Which, by the way, really is so close to his namesake city that the distance can be measured in units of Trea Turner home runs.) It was my birthday weekend, and I had a toothache that would haunt all of the festivities to come. So I can’t say I was feeling at the top of my game, or entirely focused on what was around me.

As it happened, not much was going on yet. It was still early in the morning and the hoards of visitors in their coach buses hadn’t yet sauntered into the park. After a quick walk around I was ready to give up and head into the city. As I started to walk toward the parking lot, I passed by an exhibit in which an employee was interpreting an 18th century blacksmith. I knew exactly what was going on, because I had spent more than a few mornings in nearby Harpers Ferry doing the exact same thing: starting a fire in the hearth and using the bellows to help it grow. The clothes were of an older era, but everything else looked as I remembered. Even looking at the photo now I can feel the heat coming out of the forge – so hot that even in the miserably humid Virginia summers, sweat evaporated off the skin before it had time to bead.

I didn’t want to disturb his work. It was a summer Saturday and I knew what was in store for him. I raised my Nikon L35AF point-and-shoot and wondered how well the camera would deal with a tricky lighting situation: two sources, both in front of the camera. I engaged the small slider that added two stops of exposure and held my breath as I clicked the shutter. It ended up being one of my favorite pictures. It is proof that the most important part of any image isn’t the micro-contrast of the lens, nor the ability to bracket the shot and fix it in post. The most important thing is being at the right place, at the right time, and making sure that you’re photographing deliberately.

Add Your Story to Single Shot Stories!

We’d love to feature you and your photography on the site and to share it with our many readers! Please pick your favorite photo with a story, and tell it to us. Once again, everyone is welcome to submit a photo. Submissions are limited to one per photographer in a six-month period, and must meet the following criteria:

Everyone is welcome to submit a photo. Submissions are limited to one per photographer in a three-month period, and must meet the following criteria:

1. Along with the image sent to us via email, include in the same email the camera, lens and film (if applicable) which were used to take the photo, and location where the photo was made.
2. Include a story of no more than 500 words about the image. The content is completely open so long as it discusses the submitted photo.
3. The photo should be 2,000 pixels on the long end. 

To submit your Single Shot Story for publishing here on CP, send all of the above information and the photo in an email to

We hope to hear from you soon.

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge
  • While a picture may be worth a thousand words well chosen, words, especially in blogs, are not worth much anymore. Accounting for inflation makes most pictures, especially shot by soul-less digital means, nearly worthless. That phrase was coined when a house cost $500 and a horse was $13.50 and a newspaper was 1 cent. Some pictures these days are worth 1000 devalued words approximately equivalent to about 6 cents.

    • I’m going to need to see the conversion table you used for this one. I tend to believe that good images aren’t affected by inflation.

  • Forget about telling a story, just make a perfectly composed photograph before pushing the button on the camera. Directions: 1. point camera at something interesting and compose by rule of thirds. 2. Include something in focus in the foreground that is interesting. 3. Include something in the background that is interesting. 3. Avoid high contrast scenes. 4 stop the lens down to improve sharpness. 5. ALWAYS use a tripod. 6. Eliminate distracting elements in the scene.

  • Peter Bidel Schwambach June 4, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    This and the 34 shots scavenger hunt James posted a while ago are great ways to get more involved and shooting again, specially during a block. A couple months ago, I had some great opportunities to run 8 rolls through my cameras, but lately all of them have been sitting filmless and lensless on my desk, except, maybe, for the Canonet, and that’s just because it has a fixed lens. Still no film in it though. I wouldn’t say I’m in a block per se, just haven’t gone out much, but I started the scavenger hunt yesterday, on a day out I took with the wife, and I managed to get four or five shots for the hunt. Now I gotta dig up some of my favorite photos with stories to send, I know I got a few among the ones I’ve shot so far!

  • Consider a more structured approach – a piece in this order: image (2 000 pixels on the long side); carefully chosen title [max 10 words]; a short piece of creative/evocative writing complementing the image (example: a poem, bare bones descriptione), trimmed to the bare essentials [250 words, edited ruthlessly]; the technical details: location, date, camera, lens, film and iso, optional – shot at box/over/under [50 words maximum. « Less is more » « constraints liberate »
    {70 words}

  • What a great idea, I love it. It’s a good way to allow followers of your blog to be involved. And a great short story to start us off with Jeb, thank you! I love what you said, “ The most important thing is being at the right place, at the right time, and making sure that you’re photographing deliberately“. I hope I can find something of interest to post!

    • Thanks, Donna. The “deliberate” concept took me a while to embrace, but I’ve never doubted it since. I hope to see/read a story from you soon!

  • Very good. Very interesting.
    I have a look.

  • Jerome (EarthSunFilm) June 4, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    Hi, do the rules allow images that have been published or will be published on a personal blog?

  • I like this shot; I like the story behind it; I like this ongoing project that you’re starting for us and this blog!

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge