Living a Better Story

In light of my recent posts featuring an essay (PART I and PART II) that talks about the power of Photography combined with Storytelling, I wanted to share a blog post by one of the authors I cite in the essay, Donald Miller. It is not a lengthy post, but it is profound. He shares the four primary elements of a good story. The point being that by understanding the elements of Story you can apply them to living a better story.

As I have found his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Yearsso inspiring, I wanted to share these thoughts with those of you who have not, or will not, read this book (though I do highly recommend it). Here are the four main elements of Story that he talks about:

1)  A Character or Characters (seems obvious enough)

2)  The Character(s) wants something

3)  Every Character must face conflict

4)  The Story resolves (in life there may be many resolutions of various mini-stories)

This is obviously a very simplistic synopsis. Miller’s book goes into far more depth about the idea of great stories being templates by which better lives may be lived. But if you don’t read it, you should at least check out his blog post.

So, enjoy these thoughts from Donald Miller:  CLICK HERE!

Cheers,
BJ

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The Photograph as Modern Mythology – Part II

One of the virtues of Myth is its ability to “bring us into a level of consciousness that is spiritual.” Myths can help put our minds “in touch with this experience of being alive” while also revealing “what human beings have in common.” These are just a few more thoughts shared by Joseph Campbell in his book The Power of Myth, and they could be equally applied to Photography. It is precisely this common experience of being human that allows us as viewers to recognize and relate to the emotion expressed in an image like the one shown below:

Photography is unique in its ability as an art form to communicate this idea of shared experience. We generally accept that what is in the photograph actually existed somewhere and that the camera was witness to a real event. In seeing a real event like the one above, and seeing it as something relatable half a world away, the photographer is able to mythologize that moment and present it as a representation of human experience.

Continue reading

The Photograph as Modern Mythology – Part I

The art and practice of story-telling has been one of mankind’s most prevailing practices. In an attempt to understand the world around us, to seek “an experience of being alive,” the human race has consistently invented stories. The many mythologies that have prevailed across time and geological boundaries are a testament to our need to tell stories in order to make sense of our world. But where we can look back at past cultures and find, essentially, the prevailing myths of specific peoples, in America, there does not seem to be a single, congruent story by which our society is unified. To quote Joseph Campbell, “life today is so complex, and it is changing so fast, that there is no time for anything to constellate itself before it’s thrown over again.” Continue reading

Prospectus

One of my driving interests right now is Old English history. When you study a language, learning about the culture that speaks/spoke that language is extraordinarily helpful, if not necessary. Not a problem for me!  I began teaching myself Anglo-Saxon (Old English language) earlier this year in hopes of eventually being able to engage with the literature of that period more directly. I love the old history of England, especially since so much of it is yet unknown and left to speculation, or imagination, until more is revealed through research and archeology.

Much as J.R.R. Tolkien used his scholarship to influence and inspire his creativity, I too am seeking to let my studies galvanize what I hope to create. Continue reading