prayer cloths

What to Write About – Which Pictures to Use

With one 2022 journey behind me and one to come in a couple of weeks it is time to decide which stories to tell and which photographs to include. What is actually worth telling? My experiences in Indian Country were as much about the physical landscape which was in truth stolen land, and the issues facing our Native American people.  Some of the sites visited are considered sacred places and that story should be included as it helps non-native people understand the true significance of the land theft that came about because of colonization. My approach to writing about the experience will be mostly as travel stories and first person narratives – an expansion to the journal articles I post.  What is important is to read through the essays and ask “does the reader really need to know this?” In the same way I have to ask myself “does the reader really need to see this picture?”  For me, the structure for both writing the story and choosing photos is pretty much the same: offer a sense of place, describe the experience and make it personal and offer a conclusion.  When photographing with the intent of putting together a story I make sure I am taking photographs of details as these photos generally fill in the emotional and personal side of the place visited.  An example is from Wounded Knee, the site of the massacre of hundreds of Indian women, children and older men in December of 1890.  General photos of the site as well as the close ups of the prayer cloths and graves of descendants show the story of this black day in American history and the neglect of this important site in the 21st century.

Mass grave at Wounded Knee
prayer cloths

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