On Vignettes

In Film, Inspiration
  • Vignette (literature), short, impressionistic scenes that focus on one moment or give a particular insight into a character, idea or setting. (wikipedia)

From time to time I struggle with questions such as, what is a photographic style? What do I want my style to be? Do I even have one? Looking through a batch of recently developed film rolls, I keep coming back to the idea of the vignette. A written vignette is a short piece. A photo, on the other hand, can be both long and short, depending on the photographer’s lens and point of view. I seem to be drawn to the ‘short’ scenes, small, self-contained situations rather than the broad and expansive views.

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
(from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)

Sometimes I find photos that come to remind me, afterwards, of a snatch of poem or song.

Sometimes my view expands a little to take in more of the surrounding landscape, but at the same time there is usually a smaller motif or story in focus even so.

Sometimes the story seems surprisingly subtle, contained in scattered specks of light or the way a flower bends. Does anyone else even notice?

And sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to think about such things deliberately before pressing the shutter. Or maybe it doesn’t matter as long as I find meaning and coherence in my photos afterwards; perhaps then someone else will too.

˜All the best from Jenny Graver.

2 Comments

  1. “And sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to think about such things deliberately before pressing the shutter. Or maybe it doesn’t matter as long as I find meaning and coherence in my photos afterwards; perhaps then someone else will too.”

    Ah, the mystery. Who knows? I make the image anyway, and often that very process gives me such joy! 🙂

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