Literature and Photography

If there is such thing as imaginative “writing” in literature, then perhaps there is also such thing as imaginative “seeing” in photography.   Only with this, we would be able to develop a good “eye” for things and study the familiar and the ordinary thing around us, and later on ponder on what these ordinary things reveal to us.

Yet both fields of photography and literature still require the ability to “see” – as if each sight before the writer’s or photographer’s eyes is a different world all through out.  With these, one can enter in a world different from the everyday, and from these, one can increase his or her own understanding of actual experiences.  Photography and literature reveal and/or create emotional truths about our naked selves.

I agree with Eudora Welty when she said that both the writer and the photographer must learn about “accuracy of the eye, about observation and about sympathy towards what is in front of you.”  With this statement, she has asserted that literature and photography have similarities with each other because of those three components.

In literature, we are taught that imagery plays a very important role in creative writing.  In fact, the poet Ezra Pound exemplified much on imagery more than anything else.  Most of the writers believe in the cliché that a picture contains a thousand words, and in special cases, one doesn’t have to tell his feelings or emotions through words, he or she could express them through visual arts especially in photography.

In literature, one must be very accurate in presenting the details in his or her literary piece.  Take for example, in creative nonfiction, a writer must choose carefully the most important details to include in his or her story, otherwise, the story would be ‘fed-up’ and boring because of two many broad details.  The ability to recollect important memories and present them in a creative way would make up an excellent literary piece.

This idea is exemplified in the story “The Little Store”. In the story, the writer Eudora Welty recounted her own experiences through presenting imagistic reminiscences when she was a child.  Because these things that she had done were memorable to her, they were presented in a very specific detailed manner.  Such words like “blackberry lady” and “watermelon man” were few descriptive examples.  but the most interesting imagistic example would be her description about the Little Store: “Licorice recently sucked in a child’s cheek, dill pickle brine that had leaked through paper sack in a fresh trail across the wooden floor, ammonia-loaded ice that had been hoisted from wet croker sacks and slammed into the icebox with its sweet butter at the door, and perhaps the smell of still untrapped mice.”  This example creates a powerful dramatic effect because it appeals to the senses.

On the other hand, photography requires the same components as literature.  One should be visually articulate on choosing the specific details of a certain matter or object best to be captured.  Anything in this world is easy to capture by the camera, but only few things in this world has the ability to make the viewers pause for a moment and ponder the elements of the story behind the photographs.  The pleasure one can find in photography is the pleasure from the idea that photography could evoke feelings to the viewers.  It is the pleasure that a certain photo elicits a certain response of emotion.

In photography certain aspects needs to be considered.  One must take into account the elements of a good photograph like size, space, texture, color, angle, and light and identify them.  Even though these elements sound technical, they should not be taken lightly because each of them constitutes a kind of language or emotion that is very crucial to photography.

A good photograph is that which we see the words circling around it.

Both literature and photography, as what Eudora Welty said, capture the (1) accuracy of the eye; (2) observation and (3) sympathy towards what is in front of you.  Accuracy of the eye is best presented in the author’s accurate and precise choice of specific details – “the particular”, rather than “the universal”. The ability of the author to discern what is only relevant in a particular idea for a story is a good test of his or her aesthetic sensibility.  In photography, this quality is exemplified if the photographer sees an object, and isolates it in a very sharp focus as if it is one unified object capable of drawing out emotions to the people who sees it.

In literature, developing a good story starts with observation of particular thing, action, image or object in nature that may embody universal qualities.  That is why most of the contemporary writers put their ideas and metaphors in concrete specific objects.  Developing a good image in photography on the other hand, starts with simple observation of seeing ordinary things around you and “seeing” them in a different light.  Photographers must see into considerations that the images should provoke people to respond into them readily.  A good photographer should observe how shape, light, color and texture convey different moods that elicit ideas into the viewers’ part.  It is also important to have technical expertise and a seemingly natural flair for good things best to be captured.

One should also “see” the object with sympathy – that is, regard it with a particular significant aesthetic value.  This goes both for literature and photography.

 

With the advent of new technology, one can already used digital cameras and avail specific electronic features from it.  Still, a good photographer shouldn’t just rely on the advancement of his tools, but he should also possess that outstanding creativity to make pictures great and to choose a creative subject matter for photography. Like photography, literature doesn’t rely much on the general view of the world, but it depends on the writer’s keen sense for particular details that would render his or her work powerful and inspiring.

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That Anime Fever

I couldn’t appreciate anime more in any day than during this summer. Since I’m staying home this break I didn’t do anything “cerebral” or some sort. Well, you must understand, I’m trying to take back those sleepless nights last semester, where most of them were spent from pouring myself over stacks of books that rubbed my brain raw. Well anyway, students like us deserved a good, nice vacation after such traumatic experience, and now I found out that watching TV, reading books of my own choice (I think that should be emphasized) and sleeping in between those times really help me during the break. Watching anime is also a great leisure activity. *laughs.

Speaking of anime, out of my boredom, I ranked my favorite ones to ten.

At the tenth spot is my all-time favorite Cardcaptor Sakura. What’s good about it is that it has a very excellent original story, and very nice vivid animation. My favorite character is Shaoran, although he’s an archetype, so to speak, but his character has a high degree of verisimilitude.

At ninth spot is Bokura ga Ita, or We Were There if I’m not mistaken in my English translation. I really like it because even though it’s the same pattern all over again, falling in love, breaking up, unrequited love – there is something in it that is expressed in a very subtle way. And the insert songs are so amazing. Even I, as a viewer, did have my own emotional struggle because of the conflict in Yano-Nana affair. And Yano is probably what some girls really like – after all two-thirds of the class is in love with him. The manga series is also cool, by Yuuki Obata.

At the eight spot is La Corda d’Oro Primo Passo which is currently shown in Animax. With its vivid animation and musical background plus fascinating guys, I couldn’t stand the fact of missing any single episodes. Hino is so captivating, I really like her a lot.

Next, at the seventh rank is Fruits Basket. It’s funny in a cute way, and even though Honda-san may appear so innocent and so naïve, she is really lovable. And see? There is always the usual love triangle affair among Tohru, Yuki and Kyo. The manga series is written by Takaya Natsuki.

At the sixth spot is Midori no Hibi (Midori Days). Midori is so cute. The anime is so funny, and worth my time, but later on when you encounter the drama part, you get carried away (maybe this is because you get used to think that this is a funny one, but when you get to the emotional part you ended up being touched by something you are not used to). Seiji Sawamura’s character as a highschool delinquent is a fascinating one, and the very cute Midori is really something to look forward to every episode.

How would you feel if you possessed a certain mystical stone that would increase your abilities a thousand fold? And if you’re an alchemist, you would have extraordinary power to heal all injuries and to have everlasting life. This is the story of Fullmetal Alchemist, at my fifth spot, a quest to find the ultimate Philosopher’s Stone. Edward Elric as the youngest state alchemist is utterly stunning. As you go on watching this anime you would find that there is an underlying message about the science-religion (or morality, for that matter) in it. After all, the power to possess the stone does not only bring good things, but it has the power to annihilate and destroy every single living life there is. I also like Winry Rockbell’s character, her addiction to rebuilding mechanical devices exemplifies her strong personality.

At the fourth spot is Honey and Clover! It’s a very heartwarming story of college students living their college lives amidst encountering emotional struggles and life’s difficulties until they learn more about themselves. My personal favorite character is Ayumi Yamada, the Iron Girl with her excellence in making pottery, and good looks (not to mention long legs). Her unrequited love for Takumi Mayama is one of the dramatic scenes of the anime.

At the third spot is Inuyasha, with its witty, amazing plot – a girl named Kagome traveling to the feudal environment using the old well and meeting the half-demon Inuyasha. The real story begins as they find the broken pieces of the Shikon no Tama, but along the way, there seems to be a lot of touching romantic episodes between Kagome and Inuyasha, and the conflict is escalated with the presence of another character, Kikyou, Inuyasha’s beloved. This is really a must-seen anime for me. My personal favorite character, aside from the main characters, is Sesshoumaru. Maybe because of his strong atmosphere that exudes in his personality.

At the second spot is Blood+ – an anime produced by Production IG and Aniplex, is a story of Saya Otonashii, as she fights Chiropterans and gets rid of them and finds her own self-identity along the way. This anime is a mixture of horror, action, drama, mystery, supernatural, and romance genres all in one, which makes up the anime’s complex and concentrated plot. Saya embarks on the journey to fight the Chiropteran (vampiric creatures) with her faithful servant Haji, some members of the Red Shield, brothers Kai and Riku and other faithful friends. The plot is so amazing that once you get started watching it, you wouldn’t like missing episodes in the future. Some scenes may contain strong violence and language, which is why it’s hard to let other people see it halfway because they might not understand. This anime is so good, that I love watching it all over again.

But my favorite most of all is Samurai X. The whole story is definitely amazing enough for anyone to like. The fight scenes, the language and the animation are perfectly incorporated. Kenshin Himura’s character as a wanderer and as a bloodthirsty swordsman is unforgettable. Some scenes are funny, terrifying and touching. My favorite character, other than Kenshin himself is Saito. He’s kinda disturbing but his personality is so strong for me. It’s a story of fighting for the better good, living a new life out of a dreadful past, learning to love even through circumstances when the haunting memories from the past seemed to still hang around within and being strong in one’s convictions. I love it.


Meeting the Sandman

“I enjoyed nothing better than reading or hearing horrible stories of goblins, witches, pygmies, etc., but most horrible of all was the Sandman, whom I was always drawing with chalk or charcoal, on the tables, cupboards, and walls, in the oddest and most frightful shapes.”

-Nathaniel in The Sandman by E.T.A. Hoffman

It would be really traumatic that at such a young age you were told that there is one person in this world that exists only to steal eyes in children who wouldn’t go to sleep, only to feed them on his own.I think every child (that includes me, when I was once), had their shares of frightful experiences.When I was young, I used to imagine scenes in my mind from the sounds that I heard, and sometimes, those mental images that I created haunted me in my dreams.Or maybe there might be some instances when your parents (or anyone older) would scare you off with something (or someone) just to make you do something you wouldn’t want to do, like sleeping in the afternoons or eating your vegetables.I, for once, have been told that the old man living three blocks away from our house kidnaps children who wouldn’t sleep in the afternoons.I’ve believed that with all of my heart, and that old man (who happened to be a noble retired soldier) became my object of fear for quite a long time.

At some point we find it hard to distinguish the thin line between reality and fantasy. Continue reading