“Let go of the obligations. Slow down. Join up with some friends. The time to make captivating and compelling photographs is now.”
I love books and probably have way too many of them. They fill shelves and closets and sit in little piles by the sofa and bed. Even though they surround me, I rarely read a book straight through though. I prefer to nibble on them like a bowl of popcorn, picking out kernels of wisdom and inspiration in bit sized pieces.
Photography books outnumber any other theme in my book collection by a ratio of at least 2:1. I have photography books on the technical side of things, the business side, the historic side, the inspirational, and more. There is one photography book that seems to always be on the top of the stack or the front of shelf however, Chris Orwig’s Visual Poetry. Maybe it’s because this book has a little bit of everything, or maybe it’s because as I read the pages I hear the voice of a seemingly humble and quite person just wanting to encourage people to create. For whatever reason, I return to this book again and again and always find something worthy of reflection.
Orwig refers to Visual poetry as “a photography workshop in a book.” Different than school, he suggests that a workshop is something that can be revisited and added upon, as ideas spiral into more complex thoughts, understandings, and practices. The book includes prompts and frameworks for practice, but also provides structures for thoughtful reflection on topics with titles such as “Mystery and Truth” and “Wise Poverty.” Orwig discusses the idea of “learning to see” and how listening is part of seeing, that we can “listen with our eyes,” but that it requires a “posture of openness.”
Another strength of this book is the feature of “guest speakers.” In these sections Orwig shares interviews with artists such as Pete Turner, Steve McCurry, and Joyce Tenneson, to name a few. The inclusion of other artists work and words brings a sense of community to the text and reminds the reader thatwe’re all on a journey, just in various stages, but every stage of the journey is beautiful, poetic, and worthy of preservation through imagery.
To see more of Chris Orwig’s work or connect to his TED or Google talks, check out his website: http://chrisorwig.com/