Here’s the introduction to the book which explains the connection between writing and photography and what I look for in photos:
When I first started taking pictures for my blog, Dustpan Alley, I committed all the usual photo crimes: lots of flash, not quite in focus, poor lighting, and no working on the pictures in Photoshop later. I am, above everything else, a writer, so at first I just used the photos to punctuate and illustrate posts in a perfunctory manner. The writing was all that counted to me, but something happened along the way; I started playing with the photographic possibilities. I started caring about the composition of my pictures. I took pleasure in getting a sharp picture, a picture with its own story, a picture that could stand on its own.
My pictures still mostly sucked until I got my first good quality point and shoot. My Canon SD850 took sharper better quality pictures than my ancient point and shoot could. I could take much better macro shots and it was faster, capturing natural light better. Suddenly my pictures were speaking to me, guiding my writing, inspiring posts rather than simply punctuating them. I took my camera with me everywhere keeping my eyes peeled for anything interesting to capture, anything that might bring me more words, that might have something to say to me later. Getting my first DSLR camera was a fresh revelation and though much bulkier to drag around than my little point and shoot, it takes even better pictures so I am rarely without it.
This is a book of my photographs that have sparked narratives and uncovered stories. As is true with my writing, I’m not interested in capturing only the pretty or the awe-inspiring. I’m not interested in self portraits that show me always at my best or pictures of other people that they would put in their school yearbook. What I look for is motion, color, transitory moments; I want to uncover the blood and the guts, the trash, and the paint underneath the paint. I want to see the sting, the opening, the flight, and the dreams that live and die just beyond our sight. I want to revel in the minutiae, the detritus, the flecks of light that catch us, and follow the eye where it goes when we’re not thinking too much about it. I want to find the humor, the daily irreverence, and the jubilation of daily life.
Just like my writing, my photographs come straight from the jugular.
I have collected in this book some of my best and each picture is paired with observations and thoughts I’ve taken from my writing. The words don’t always immediately seem to go with the photographs and I’m not going to tell you why I paired each one as I have, I am only going to say that in each pairing there is something that binds them for me, whether it is mood, color, texture, or narrative.