Mar 8 2015

The Stories We Tell

Melissa Crytzer Fry

My photography instructor frequently asks, “What story do you want to tell?” when she’s critiquing our photos. If the photographer has zoomed out, the visual story unfolds one way. If she zooms in – on a flower, a person, an animal, a rock, lichen – she tells quite another story, even if both exist in the same physical plane.

What story do you want to tell? The storyteller in me really likes that question. In the end, it’s all about perspective, isn’t it — in the stories we tell, in the photographs we take, in the way we view life?

Enjoy some additional shots I’ve taken over the past five weeks, using functions on my camera that I didn’t even know existed. (It’s been quite the task: weaning myself away from the ‘auto’ setting and shooting from the eyepiece versus the digital display). As usual, click on any image to enlarge (You really should; they’re WAY better when you can see the details).

For Readers, Writers, Everyone: This photography class has taught me an important lesson about mastery of a new skill: mainly that sometimes you have to get worse before you get better. Have you ever felt you had to fail a bit to succeed? (I’m not sharing the children’s portraits I took – whew wee, a portrait photographer I am NOT)


18 Responses to “The Stories We Tell”

  • avatar Cynthia Robertson Says:

    Oh my gosh, Melissa, these are GORGEOUS. The one of the cows is stunning. I love the black silhouettes of cow and branch, against that dun-colored sky. I could look at that one for days. The red cloud formation and the trellis of the bridge really grabbed me too!

    Perspective is everything, isn’t it, in life, as well as fiction – and photos. And yours is just lovely. 🙂

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Thanks, Cynthia. The cow shot is one of my all-time favorites, and it just may end up enlarged and on my wall! I loved the way that branch seemed to follow the contour of her pregnant belly! I loved that the ones you say ‘grabbed you’ are ones that I used new camera settings for!

    I appreciate the compliments.

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  • avatar Natalia Sylvester Says:

    Wow, Melissa, these are amazing! And I love what you said about zooming in and out on the same scene/place, but each telling a different story. It reminds me of a writing workshop I once took: the teacher had us write a scene from a macro POV and then a micro POV…and it changed everything.

    I CANNOT wait to take pictures with you!!!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    What a brilliant idea to do a macro and micro POV scene!

    Oh my – we’re going to have so much fun shooting wildflower photos together (and all the other desert-y things we can)! I’m sure you can teach me a thing or two. See you soon!

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  • avatar Cherry Harris Says:

    Your photos are like reading a full length book, not just a story , they are delightful . I love the cows .
    Cherryx

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Thanks, Cherry. You made me smile ear-to-ear. Today was a wildflower photo shoot, which was a blast!

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  • avatar Annie Neugebauer Says:

    These are seriously stunning!! The first one with the cows and the seventh one with the orange sky over the bridge are my absolute favorites. You are crazy talented, lady.

    Your theme here speaks well to Nina’s blog post this week. (Kismet!) The idea of the same content changing based on the “teller’s” perspective. True for writing and photography, maybe art in general? Lovely post. Thanks for sharing!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Thanks, Annie. I need to check out NIna’s post for sure! Have to admit; I got lucky with those cows! It’s one of my favorite shots ever taken, I think!

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  • avatar Jessica Vealitzek Says:

    LOVE these, Melissa. I would hang the cow one for sure; love the spinning carnival ride, too. Wow.
    I love the question, “what story do you want to tell?” It’s the most important one, and I find I can’t really start writing a book or story until I know the answer to that question. Not just the plot–but the entire point of the thing.

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Agree that this is (at least for me, too) the most important question before writing a book. I’ve often found it interesting, when I ask some of my friends in book club, “What did you think the story was about?” — I get a wide range of answers. And usually they are an abbreviated version of the plot. So I’ll ask again, “But what was it *about?*” And I guess what I’m looking for is: what is the story the author wanted to tell? It might have a plot of x, but it’s ABOUT love, hope, forgiveness, duality …Any number of exciting things! And a good author weaves all of that together!

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  • avatar Nina Says:

    Beautiful shots! Especially loved the ones with movement. Very cool.

    And good lesson, too. It’s one I have to keep telling myself every day to try and fail and try and fail and how it’s the only way to get better. I also like your point about getting off “auto.” I know I’ve been doing that, which is why I signed up for an online writing class for the 2nd half of this month to mix things up again. It’s time!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Yes, the night shots and “dragging the shutter” were such fun (surprisingly easy, too).

    It’s hard to get off ‘auto’, isn’t it? I’m so happy to hear you signed up for a writing class. Mixing things up and challenging ourselves is what keeps us sharp, even amid the failure.

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  • avatar Lora Says:

    Lovely photos, Melissa! I hate the fact that the lesson — get worse before you get better — is true. I’m learning life is about the gains you recover from losses. Is that too bleak? It’s just another way to say you learn from failure, eh? Thanks for this post 🙂
    Lora

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Actually, I think the way you put it is quite eloquent: “… the gains you recover from losses…” Cant’ wait to catch up next month.

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  • avatar Jackie Cangro Says:

    Melissa, I have to echo the sentiments of the other commenters. These photos are gorgeous! Each one is more beautiful than the next. Thank you for sharing them and bringing these beautiful images into my day.

    I love that you’re able to apply the lessons and skills from one creative endeavor to another.

    I look forward to seeing your photos of animals. 🙂

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I do love photographing animals, but they don’t often stay still enough (Take, for instance, my friend’s chickens I was trying to shoot for a contest she wants to enter. I got ONE decent shout out of more than a dozen. Ha!)

    Thanks for your compliments, Jackie. They mean so much.

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  • avatar Diann D Says:

    Oh Melissa, these are so wonderful! The cows are so gorgeous and start the story right off.

    I love both aspects of this–what you want to say and being willing to fail. This is sort of non sequitur but it made me think of what an art teacher once said. We all had our charcoal drawings of the still life up on the wall. I’d macro’d in (as I always do) on one specific part. She said, “this looks like you” and I knew exactly what she meant. Where and how we train our lens (or pen) is unique to us and changes the story that’s told, and being willing to fail makes it more honest. The latter, however…so challenging.

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  • avatar Lori P Says:

    Get worse to get better? Ummm, have you seen my sewing, my crocheting, and (dear god) my wip? Apparently, you have! They are all in varying stages of stink, when they started out so lovely… I appreciate this encouragement! And the COWS!!! That shot is amazing, as well as the cobalt blue sky. Five stars!

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