Open an book and you will find words on a page…but there is so much more to reading than decoding words on a page. There is meaning behind the words, under the words, and between the words. We often refer to reading between the lines, the act of interacting with text–both inferring and bringing our own experiences and understandings to the texts we read.
And while photos are not made of words, they too can be read. We can do a literal reading of an image or read between the lines. Playing with this idea this week–here are some of my examples of reading between the lines.
In a literal sense of the phrase, I found myself playing around with looking through the spaces in the steep stairs at Swami’s beach. You can see the lines of the wooden planks going in different directions, and looking between them you can also catch a glimpse of the sea, the sky, and even a person down below.
Last weekend out near the Oceanside pier, I played around with capturing the sun between the lines of the pilings, railings, and deck of the pier. As the sun set, it flirted in a game of hide and seek between silhouetted lines.
I love the storytelling element of the idea of between the lines. I have my own version of street photography that I call #beachpeople. As my attention was drawn to this couple having wedding photos taken near the pier, I found myself imagining the narrative that went with the wedding dress, the bouquet, the bare feet, and the football. (And I loved capturing the couple “between the lines” of the pier structure…with the beautiful lighting provided by the setting sun!)
I was also drawn to some more traditional lines…like these of the classic neighborhood sign in Encinitas. Because a street fair was going on and the streets were closed to traffic, I was able to walk into the street and approach the sign from a different angle than I usually am able to. I am also fascinated by the lines of the tree branches intersecting with the lines of the street sign.
I noticed all the products hanging from lines at the street fair. These bags are not only hanging from lines, they are also made of lines–intersecting, crossing, weaving here and there. And what is between them? The lives of the makers? Do they reap the fruits of their labor?
And the unexpected often lies between the lines. I wouldn’t have been surprised to look up at the telephone wires and find shoes hanging from their shoestrings. But when I looked up this time, I saw birdhouses hanging from the wires! What is the story of the birdhouses? What narrative lives between these lines?
Then, sometimes lines are not lines at all. Instead they are wings, clouds, waves, and cliffs; the lines of the seascape that are both familiar and new each time I see them.
So your challenge this week is play around with the idea of between the lines. You can be literal and find lines to capture with your lens, or interpret something you see between the lines of your photo.
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #betweenthelines for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
So grab your camera and start reading between the lines! What will you find when you are thinking through your lens?