Thursday Thought: Writing With Pictures

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

One of the best stories for the first week of 2011 was about a homeless man named Ted Williams who was taped by a Columbus Dispatch photojournalist while panhandling at a corner in the heart of Ohio.

It’s pretty amazing and heartening at the same time to witness what happened to Mr. Williams in a few short hours after his video cameo went viral on YouTube (illegally, I might add, see Columbus Dispatch explanation.) It’s an interesting exercise in copyright to read what the newspaper did to protect their video.

Job offers galore, a tearful reunion with the mother he hasn’t see in ten years of homelessness and drug abuse, a shave and a haircut, and spots on the top news shows thrust Mr. Williams into the cultural consciousness of America and he will never be the same again…we hope. Hopefully, whatever contributed to his situation will not happen again. We all know how special and rare a second chance is. I’m sending him strong thoughts for success and healing. But what about the person who brought the plight of Mr. Williams to our attention?

Doral Chenoweth III is a photojournalist for the newspaper but according to his website, he is a world traveller whose special gift in my opinion, is seeing, really seeing the depths of the truth and the not-so-true that live within us all. Just looking at the pictures on his website is inspiring.

According to his website, Mr. Chenoweth is a family man, an adjunct college instructor, a newspaper photographer, and a humanitarian. But it’s what he instinctively “sees” in his fellow man that interests me and the fact that he writes his stories with photos fascinates me, too. He’s a writer who uses pictures instead of words to tell his story. That’s called a photojournalist. But he must have a gift for recognizing what’s special while looking through a camera lens. What did Mr. Chenoweth see in Mr. Williams that compelled him to roll down his car window and make a video that changed William’s life? Does Mr. Chenoweth see a hopeful world and a year of goodness and compassion ahead for us in the simple story of a homeless man with a “God given gift?” Looking at his other photos, it’s obvious he sees goodness in lots of faces and places. Is it just a matter for the rest of us of stopping and taking the time to really “see” what’s inside a person? Is the photography asking us not to jump to conclusions?

If you ask me, it’s what writers have done for centuries. The way they view something and the way they then explain it to the rest of us is a special ability. Writing (and photos) change lives. I bow humbly to both men.

Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity

Who Dares Wins Publishing