The Story Behind the Photo

In Inspiration
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Sometimes the image isn’t enough.  Sometimes you have to know why, when and where.  Sometimes you need to tell the story that leads up to the creation of the image.  Sometimes, when you understand the behind-the-scenes, it helps the image make more sense.  Let me tell you the story behind this image:


It was December 30th, 2010.  I remember the day distinctly because I was 2 days away from finishing my first 365 day project.  So much had shifted for me that year and I was pleased that I’d managed to complete something so monumental.  I was participating in Picture the Holidays, a daily photo inspiration group, and the prompt for that day suggested we “visually translate the idea of moving forward.”  It went on to say, “Turning your back on something doesn’t have to be a negative. It can be a sign that the old ways of doing things are no longer needed as you embrace the new.”   I was sitting at my desk at my energy trading job as I read the prompt and I felt like it was written just for me, as I stewed in frustration and unhappiness with how my corporate career had become so unsatisfying.   From the moment I read the prompt, an image popped up in my brain.  That’s actually pretty rare for me – I usually have to spend some time brainstorming and idea-mapping before I get to that point.  In that moment, all I could think of was, “Can I get it done before I need to pick up the kids from daycare?”  After work, I raced home, threw on the dress, grabbed some square cardstock paper and a Sharpie and tossed my shutter remote into the car.  As an afterthought, I ran back inside to gather a few books to prop my camera up so it would be slightly above ground level.  I drove to a small section of land near our house that could possibly be mistaken for a forest if you squint and use a shallow depth of field.  (You’d never know if I didn’t tell you, but there’s a church directly to my right and a Home Depot directly to my left….)  I sat in my car with my sharpie and my cards and I wrote down the words of the things that I was ready to turn my back on: Disappointment, Anger, Resentment, Envy, Fear, Regret.  I’m sure there were others in there, too.  I set my camera on my stack of books and tried my best to focus on a spot I thought would work.   I grabbed my cards in one hand and my remote in the other and got to work scattering the cards behind me.  I was racing against the clock,  worried that I’d have to pay the “late pickup” fee at the daycare, so I hurriedly snapped a few shots.  I went back to check the back of my camera once and made one small adjustment before snapping 2 more shots and packing everything up.  I left there that day without a minute to spare,  hoping and praying that I got something useable in my rush.  Later that evening, when the kids were fed, bathed, read-to and tucked sweetly into sleep, I sat down at my computer to see the results of what I’d shot.  I almost cried when I realized that for the first time ever, I’d gotten an image that looked EXACTLY like what I had in my head.  Even down to the swish of my skirt.  In that moment, I felt empowered and content at the same time.  I had created something beautiful, intentional and meaningful and it set the tone for how 2011 would begin for me.

Now that we’re fully into 2016, I’ve started giving more of the back-story about why I’m taking the pictures that I take.  I’d love if you followed along on my daily journey.

Always moving forward – Angie


  1. I love this story, Angie! And I cannot believe it’s been more than 5 years since the Picture the Holidays classes. OMG! Also, like you, I’ve become more aware of storytelling with pictures, the story behind, so to speak and plan to focus more on that this year. Lovely post!

  2. On of my favorite all-time photos from the Picture classes! LOVE this!!!!! and love hearing the story behind it all. (Home Depot! LOL!)

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