words and photography, initial thoughts on bookmaking

I generally prefer to look at photographs without any distraction on the page.  I enjoy clean lay-outs, devoid of the mark of the designer (though it was probably well designed if there are no distractions from the image). However, just as a good musical selection can add layering and fullness to a slide show, some texts compliment photographs so perfectly that the sum is greater than the parts.  This is a difficult thing to achieve so I have set myself the task of doing just that.  In addition to the projects that I have working currently, I am creating a book of the poems I have written that were inspired by photographs.  I have often had the experience where words or a phrase will rise up from an image and will not go away until I’ve written them down, or worked out a poem from those initial sparks.  It’s a very scary prospect, but I will be posting a few images and poems here on the blog.  Allow me to say this: I know NOTHING about poetry other than what I like…..so please don’t recommend this blog to a poetry professor!  (Or if so, find one capable of compassionate criticism?)  I did include several poems in the book I collaborated on with Dominique Barbier, Meditation for Two.  The response has been remarkably positive and I am encouraged to develop the work.

Here are a couple of  images and excerpts of poems; the first from The Chapel of St. John in the Tower of London, circa 1080, and the second from the Dunker Church on Antietam Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland, circa 1852.

….Cries of Princes, wail of lovers,
thoughts of Saints, and many others…
All these you´ve heard and sealed in stone.
Held in that light, that
glorious, golden tone.

No blast of rifles or
burst of cannons
No shouted orders or
pleas in desperation
pleas for life and for home

No clattering of wagon´s wheels
bearing shattered young men
No drips or splatters from the
surgeon´s work…the
rasp of steel on bone

No cries of mothers or daughters
of fathers and sons or wives in agonizing
frenzied search.

blessed silence

in this humble church.

11 Responses to “words and photography, initial thoughts on bookmaking”

  1. 1 Ranger Pool
    January 10, 2010 at 3:12 pm


    As I’ve said before, you have a way with words. Bravo. Regarding Dunker Church, that’s an interior I’ve struggled with getting a gratifying image. You’ve done well. Ranger Poole

    • January 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Matt,
      Thanks very much. Dunker Church is a favorite spot for me, for many reasons. I need to photograph it in Winter. Thanks very much for looking….and for your encouraging words. Keron

  2. 3 honey
    January 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Dear talented one,

    I am totally in awe of this new endeavor….it’s about time you took your verse to your gorgeous images. Count me as first in line to purchase it!

    My comment comes with awe for your courage to go forth, and your talent that fuels your future.

  3. 5 Riley
    January 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    There I was reading Jack Whyte and you bring a small part of it to life… more please.Lovely. RC

    • January 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      WOW…didn’t know you were a Templar/Brit History fan. I’ve been for a long time…..that’s what started the entire journey back in 2003/2004 with my trips to Scotland. We must talk more about this. : ) Thanks for the comment, Riley.

  4. 7 Wil
    January 11, 2010 at 3:37 am

    This is terrific. I am glad that you are pursuing this endeavor. These are wonderful and certainly do add a lot to the depth of the wonderful images.

  5. 8 anne henning
    January 11, 2010 at 7:47 am


    the layers of you are profound. each layer slides back and forth with intellect, emotion and joy.
    Your skills with words and imagery make those subtexts strong and eternal.


  6. January 12, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Heck of a start Keron… I feel some of my best photographs are those that generated text/words at the same time or shortly after the image. Perhaps it’s because when writing, we are forced to look longer at the image whether via the viewfinder or the image later… and then we are drawn back to try again.

    What shall we say of the poet who feels the same and picks up the camera or brush?


    • January 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      Hi Morgan,
      Thank you! I know this: when images rise up, unbidden, and then words start forming, I know that there is something deeply resonant there and I have to explore it. It’s even better than knowing I’ve taken a good photograph….and we know how heavenly that is….but then to have something else come from it, another layer….well that’s a feeling I could never have too often. Thank you for checking in with the blog. I’m working on two new posts for the weekend.

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