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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope to hear from you soon.
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