veins in a leaf

On my previous post I talked about the habit of writing … about falling out and falling back in. The post prompted a lot of discussion (thank you) … well more than normal on this blog anyways! In the course of that discussion one question posed by blogging friend Ally stuck in my mind today; she wrote

words first?

or image?

Does it matter?

My initial response to the question was ‘Image first’ and although it’s true that I generally choose an image and then let the words flow from there … my answer didn’t really satisfy me. Who is to say that the words weren’t simmering away waiting for an image? I rarely think of the words or an idea and then go find and take a picture to illustrate it … I know plenty of photographers who do but I’m not one. I do have some projects I’m working on that require this approach and I’ve discussed some of those previously.

Composing a picture is a searching, almost meditative process for me. Often I don’t know exactly where I’m going with it until I arrive. I’m trying to think whether the words are there then at that moment of artistic creation? No, they’re not. Not in the form as you’re reading now. But then, the vision behind my thoughts … behind my presented image was. When I present the two together, they appear simultaneously to you. There’s no telling which came first … you get to choose!

When I took this picture (in December 2011) was I thinking of the words I’d write here today? No I wasn’t. I was thinking of the interconnectedness of things … about how the structure of the leaf and the arrangement of its veins was likely an efficient method of town-planning … about how the natural and constructed worlds shared much and that our contructed world had more to learn than perhaps the other way round.

Oh and I was holding my breath because I didn’t want to cause the leaf to move.

Does it matter?

Does the fact that I wasn’t, in this case, thinking of the words and the picture simultaneously matter? I don’t think so. Did one influence the other? Most definitely.

Which way does it work for you? Which comes first?

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