Monday, 31 March 2014

Photography for Writers

So last Friday was publication day for Photography for Writers. What did I do to celebrate? Well, I went out with my camera, of course! I love the fact that having a camera slows you down. (Mine is quite heavy.) But my point is, when you have a camera with you, your ‘eye’ is looking around assessing the shot. It’s this process that slows you down. So you ‘see’ more, which is good for writers.

For example, I climbed the tower of St Laurence’s Church in Ludlow. It’s 135 feet high and the church stands on top of the hill around which Ludlow grew, so it’s a fantastic vantage point. But when I climbed it the weather was quite misty. Distance was not my reward for the exertion of climbing so many steps! It did offer a fantastic viewpoint, and I managed to get several shots of Ludlow from above. 


But as I moved around the tower exploring the view I noticed the almshouses below. The plaque above the main entrance was obvious from this height, yet only minutes earlier I’d walked along the lane, right past the almshouses and hadn’t seen the plaque from the ground. The act of slowing down and appreciating the view had revealed this to me. Now there’s a topic for further research … almshouses … there must be several article ideas there.



And whilst I was wandering around the old canon, parked outside the entrance to Ludlow castle, trying to find its best side, I suddenly spotted the plaque declaring from where it had been obtained. Quite topical at the moment, don’t you think? Who’d have thought Ludlow had a connection to the Crimea. A topical hook for an article, perhaps?



In Lower Broad Street, the properties do not have front gardens, but that hasn’t stopped them from adding some brightness to their frontages … now there’s an idea for an article.


And then I discovered the plaque commemorating the restoration of the Horseshoe Weir, in the River Teme, which was financed through public subscription, as well as lottery money. I wonder how much was raised by public subscription, and who donated? Who felt concerned enough to hand over their cash to see this wonderfully-shaped weir restored. Is that another article idea?



And then there are Ludlow’s fine buildings - over 500 if them in the town are listed (I mean in the preservation sense, rather than the physical sense - although many of them do physically lean in several directions). It made me wonder what the responsibilities of a listed-property owner are. I know several builders hate listed status, because of the bureaucracy, but what’s like to live in such a building and care for one? How difficult is it to get insurance? And so all these other article ideas flowed …


So, you see, having a camera can be good for writers, even if you don’t take any photos (although I would urge you to press the shutter button at some point!). It makes you slow down and look … and when you do that, the ideas will come. Of course, if you want to take some photos then do - and my book will help you make the most of them with your writing. (Come on - you were expecting a plug at some point, weren’t you? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Compass-Points-Photography-Writers-photos/dp/1780999356/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396102262&sr=8-1&keywords=Simon+Whaley)


Good luck!

8 comments:

  1. Ludlow is a lovely town - I've only had a quick walk through the centre and a visit to the castle, so it's definitely somewhere I need to revisit. Almshouses are fascinating and are often clues to the history of a place. Where I live, we have two sets of almshouses - one funded by the 'William Burberry mentioned below, many decades before this entry for South's Almshouses: 'The Charity of James South founded by will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 17 May 1885. The endowment consists of the almshouses and £1,503 19s. 5d. 2½ per cent. Consols with the Official Trustees producing £37 12s. yearly in dividends. This sum, together with the income of the Dole Charity, Maltby's Charity and a yearly sum received from Burberry's Charity, is expended in payments of money to the almspeople and in providing coal for and keeping in repair the almshouses.'

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    1. It just shows you Alison, doesn't it, what's right under our noses ... literally!

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  2. Great photos, as always, Simon. Good luck with the book.

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  3. Just ordered it as a birthday present for my friend who writes a fabulous text/photo blog at http://stillwonderinghere.wordpress.com/ She tells me she's an amateur with her photography but I think she's doing pretty well already. Your book is on its way to her. Well done on publication. It looks really good.

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    1. Thanks, Fran. I hope she likes it. Her blog looks good!

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  4. Simon - good luck with the book, looks interesting. I have never been to Ludlow, must add it to my list.

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    1. Some nice walking round Ludlow, Rob, particularly Mortimer Forest!

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