Wikipedia says about photo essay: “A photo essay or photographic essay is a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer. A photo essay will often show pictures in deep emotional stages. Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs. Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order, or they may consist of non-ordered photographs which may be viewed all at once or in an order chosen by the viewer.”
I had first come across the term photo essay while taking a seminar level course in experimental nonfiction writing, and there, my tryst with a few essays including ‘A Postcard Memoir’ by Lawrence Sutin first sparked my interest in attempting to write that kind of short, crisp memoir accentuated by a series of pictures. Sutin’s essay was marked by crisp, richly layered prose inspired by pictures which portrayed slices of everyday life, including a newborn in his mother’s lap, a tropical garden and a potato-chip factory with school kids touring the premises, and a portrait of a man and his son. After reading a few more photo essays, I was more intrigued into writing this form of essay through which I would be able to relate to some immensely emotional or spiritual moment, a moment of epiphany or a moment of euphoria through the conscious effort of dissecting pictures. One such profound moment struck me this year during our two day trip to the mighty Yosemite National Park, northern California this summer.
My first photo essay, ‘Mountain Reverie: A Surreal Cavas at the Yosemite National Park’ that has appeared at Cafe Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Cafe Dissensus journal, is my humble attempt at nature writing based on this very trip. Hope some of you will find time to read and comment on it: