I’m still muddling through a perplexing problem at times where I wonder whether a picture is what I want to take, or whether writing the scene is better. It’s hard to judge; I’m a published semi-pro amateur photographer, I’m a published writer (one eBook, if that really counts, but through a publishing company). I can do both reasonably well, or at least I would like to think so.
Here’s an example. I was wasting time on Independence Square (South) in Port of Spain, Trinidad, waiting for the next water taxi.
I came across a burnt out building- the marks on the walls through all where there had once been glass. Welded BRC wire framed on steel, painted with a reddish primer kept people out of… a burnt building… and a new sign in the lower right proclaimed it to be the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services. A promise, perhaps, like so many others in Trinidad and Tobago by politicians seemingly paid by the quantity of what comes out of their mouths rather than the quality.
In front of this armored concrete husk lay a vagrant, facing the building, his red t-shirt contrasting with cardboard he was laying on. And oh, how I wish I had my camera with me at that moment. It was as critical a social criticism as any. It was, in fact, a perfect shot.
But I didn’t have the camera, and I simply wrote about it – taking 3 paragraphs.
In this, the picture would have been better, I think. Yet I wrote about it and described the highlights of the scene pretty well, too.
So what this taught me is that it’s not a versus. It’s a matter of combining the two, and really, I still need to work on that.