Three significant things happened for me in 2008: My son was born; I began working at Carolrhoda; and I got serious about photography. All three are actually quite related.
I wanted this job for lots of reasons, but one of them was so that I could make books that my son would be interested in now. I wanted to learn about photography because the first photos I took of my son after he was born were frustrating to me (I can’t quite bring myself to write disappointing, because they are of my son). And as a texty person jumping into the world of visual story telling, I felt like photography would be a way to engage that part of my brain so that I could communicate with illustrators in some way the resembles how I communicate with writers.
Photography has paid more dividends than that, though. There’s a world of adult visual storytelling through photos that’s been at least as beneficial to how I approach text. A few photo books leap to mind as being just as inspiring for my inner prose artist as my inner visual artist:
- Bruce Davidson’s Brooklyn Gang
- Roy Decarava’s The Sweet Flypaper of Life
- Robert Frank’s The Americans
- The whole Vivian Maier story
When I’m stuck for something to say about a text, I now find myself turning to photography to reboot my imagination.
Prose people, tell me, what worldless things fuel your imaginations?