Dan Raven – Photographer Of Strange Images

About a week ago, I came across the work of Dan Raven who is a photographer with a very special and idiosyncratic view of the world.   There is a brooding quality about his photos that is remarkably attractive I found.  By this I don’t mean that his photographs are in any sense dark or […]

About a week ago, I came across the work of Dan Raven who is a photographer with a very special and idiosyncratic view of the world.   There is a brooding quality about his photos that is remarkably attractive I found.  By this I don’t mean that his photographs are in any sense dark or morbid, quite the contrary in  fact.   They are full of light and space, but still, they make one think of mortality and similar dark thoughts.  Odd really how they have that effect, on me at least.

He has taken lots of photos of abandoned places, buildings, constructions, rooms and so on, which obviously do have their own sort of melancholia, but even these, which as I say, do give one intimations of mortality, manage to do that without being all dark and Gothic in the literal sense.

To give you a better idea of what I mean,here are two photos he took of abandoned places.

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Whilst both of these rooms are very different, they are also very similar, both in the sense of being abandoned, but not emptied.  The people who lived in and used these rooms apparently simply walked away one day, leaving all their bits and pieces behind, in a sort of mute “we were here” cry. Continue reading “Dan Raven – Photographer Of Strange Images”

Haunting Images Of Abandoned Places

Kenneth Provost is a Belgian photographer of abandoned places.  Wandering around his native Belgium with his camera in his hand he discovers all manner of abandoned factories, houses and similar urban detritus, and makes the most wonderful photos of them. Apparently he was given his first serious camera about 4 years ago, and promptly went […]

Kenneth Provost is a Belgian photographer of abandoned places.  Wandering around his native Belgium with his camera in his hand he discovers all manner of abandoned factories, houses and similar urban detritus, and makes the most wonderful photos of them.

Apparently he was given his first serious camera about 4 years ago, and promptly went out into his city of Ostend and discovered that he was surrounded by the most wonderful old and abandoned buildings, which he proceeded to explore with the happy results you will see below.

All of his photos have the quality of suggesting that some sort of important and significant events occurred to or in the places he shows us, which he doesn’t feel any need to expand upon, simply leaving it up to us to conjure up an explanation of what we are looking at.  They hint at tragic events, terrible loss of life, the breakdown of society and all manner of other equally serious events.

The main reason that I wanted to draw your attention to his work, is that all of his photos would be superb as starting points in any writing classroom.  Each of them contains enough emotion and imagery to supply an entire story line for a short story at the very least.

I shall post a few of his images below to give you a taste of his vision of the world, and also his website so that you can go directly to him and buy any images that you feel would be useful to you.

I emphasise the idea of buying his images from him, as this is how the man makes his living, and it would obvioulsy be totally wrong to make use of his vision without paying for it, so if you like what you see below, please go by his online shop and purchase as many as you can use.

Link to his Website:  Kenneth Provost, Photographer.

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Images To Inspire Great Stories

Every so often I find that I have collected a pile of curious images that I use to spark ideas in my head for my writing, and I also like to share some of them with you guys, to see if you can use them to help you either to write yourself, or as resources for your students to help them get started with their writings.

So, here are a new load of weird and strange images, each of which can certainly be used to spark ideas.

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I particularly like this one, it has such a yearning feel to it… I know it is actually very banal, but there has to be a story lurking in it somewhere…  What is he thinking?  Why did he go to sea?  Is he approaching some important point in his life?   And so it goes, such an image has so many stories in it.

Or to go to the other extreme, from yearning to downright silly, here is one that any Dutch people will certainly recognise at once, a room full of Sint Nicholas’s.  For the non-Dutch among you, it should at the very least give rise to strange thoughts about gatherings of imitation bishops, a fancy dress party in which every one accidentally wore the same costume… and so on.. no end of ideas in this one I feel.

Continue reading “Images To Inspire Great Stories”

Pictures To Produce Ideas

The internet is a source of the most amazing and extraordinary images, many of which simply cry out to be used as starting points for short stories.   For example, if you see this photo (see below) it has to make your mind begin to wander around all manner of possible stories.

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What on earth is happening in this photo?   Why is that nonchalant young woman sitting on her bed apparently being embraced by a large and peaceful bear?  Is the bear comforting her?  Why is she apparently ignoring the bear?  What on earth is she doing, dressed only in her nightgown, with a large and amiable bear beside her?

As you can see, such an image could surely be used by your students (or yourself) as the starting point (or equally, the end point) of a short story of just about any genre.

I have long been fond of using such images to get my writing juices flowing, and the advent of the internet has been a real boon to individuals such as I in this respect.   So much easier than having to go to a library and ploughing through volumes of stuff to find that one exciting image that I need to get me going.

Continue reading “Pictures To Produce Ideas”

Abandoned Places Have A Beauty All Their Own

It is a curious fact that abandoned houses, towns and other man made objects, when we have finished with them, and left them to rot away on their own, frequently acquire a new sort of beauty, as I hope you will see in the photos I have collected from around the web to illustrate this point.

Generally when we think about stuff that we have thrown away, or abandoned, we tend to think that it will be ugly, messy and generally a bad idea, as in this image below.

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And of course, to a large extent this view is correct, rubbish is rubbish, and highly undesirable.   But having said that, there remains a sort of haunting beauty in old and abandoned buildings and cities.

A tristesse is always lurking in the background whenever one finds oneself confronted with the ruins of what was once a home, or a village.   If you consider the photo below, you will see what I mean.

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On one level this is a horrible, rotting mess, but on another level one is forced to think about the people who used to live in this room, what sort of stuff did they watch on that remarkably clean looking TV set, why did they have such large armchairs in their bedroom, set out in order to watch TV in comfort?   Who were they, and why did they leave?  I am afraid I have no idea, as I do not know anything about this image, other than what it says for itself.   Patently a sad story is lurking in the background here, something that caused them to leave quite hurriedly it would seem.

Even in buildings that were never lived in by families, we see the same sort of brooding atmosphere.   This image of an abandoned Sanatorium in Germany is such an image.

Continue reading “Abandoned Places Have A Beauty All Their Own”

A Couple Of Teacher’s Resource Offerings

Occasionally I get overwhelmed by a desire to help teachers – probably owing to the fact that my mother was a teacher, and my wife is a teacher.  When this hits me,  I simply go with it and see if I can find anything that might be a help.

So today’s offering will take the form of several static images that I feel might spark off a stream of creative writing, a curious and powerful video that might equally give rise to some ideas worth putting on paper, and as the cream on the cake, a piece of music that will assuredly get under your skin and make it unavoidable that your students will be moved into a totally different plane of experience when they hear it… and thus cause them to produce such flights of fantasy that you will be astounded.  Or at least that is my fervent hope.

So let us begin with the static images.   I have selected three types in the hope that one at least will give your students the start they need to create a story that will take off and be fun to read and consider…..

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Continue reading “A Couple Of Teacher’s Resource Offerings”

Images To Create Stories With

As you may have noted, I have a great affection for odd and old photographs, mainly those depicting people in some way or other.   I also find old photos of people fascinating.   I look at those old photos and wonder what became of the people in them.   Did their lives go well, or not, were they happy, satisfied or miserable in the way their lives went?  I suspect that most of us have much the same reaction to looking at photos of people who are long dead.

Curiously I discovered that Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series has a similar feeling.  He collects old photos of couples he knows nothing about, and creates short stories based on what the photos suggest to him.  Not something I have ever gone so far as to do, though the thought always crosses my mind when looking at such photos.

So I though I would post a small collection of such photos that speak to me, in the hope that they might spark off some sort of creative surge in you guys.

So here we go, some random, but in one way or another, intriguing photos of people who are probably long dead.

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This next one is really rather odd…    but then, who isn’t?

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Continue reading “Images To Create Stories With”