poetry critical

online poetry workshop

Rules of Photography

I can see our months
like photographs
spread across my bed.
Thirty-six of them in panorama;
three years of you and I.
It starts with candid snapshots
but somewhere along the way
our landscapes become portraits
in faded black and white.
The blurry streaks when things were fast
give way to slower shutter speeds.
And somewhere near the middle
there's a double-exposure:
A picture of us in the mirror
and a picture of yesterday;
you teaching me to use a camera
and you telling me what went wrong.
"You won't be able to see the subject
if the light comes from behind," you say,
"and you can't take any close-ups when
you're focused on infinity."
I know I always put
my horizon line too high
but you, too sometimes fail
to keep things in perspective.
And I wonder why you didn't try
to see from other angles.
I wonder why you didn't remember
the principals of balance;
even an overcast day, you'd say,
can produce most brilliant colors.
Maybe my view is distorted
through my fisheye lens,
but your view finds only negatives.
But if you'd just one more time
come back into my dark room,
we could take those negatives
and develop something better.

I've been continually revising this poem if anyone is wondering why it keeps changing on them...

14 Apr 02

Rated 8.5 (6.9) by 2 users.
Active (2): 8, 9
Inactive (16): 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9

(define the words in this poem)

(6 users consider this poem a favorite)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


ah-hahah! i love photography and i love this poem. the metaphor is looovely!
 — unknown

damn nice
 — Hawksfire

damn straight. my only suggestion would be to add specific incidents instead of just the explination- show, don't tell.
 — jade

I just reverted this back to an earlier version upon suggestion from several people -- it is less heavy on the photography images and catchwords, but everyone says its better, more direct -- what do you think?
 — unknown

on the picture-in-the-mirror: "We feel that people behave differently and are less likely to put on a 'happy face' when confronted with themselves snapping a photograph. To this end, you're more likely to see the person as how they see themselves."
 — unknown

metaphor is jesus-flower-pimpin. however, maybe too clinical, too much description of camera work.
 — werkzeug

very good use of metaphor, however, the meaning of them is too obvious, almost to the point of joke. (negatives, other angles, hah). maybe a little more subtlety would serve a po that is already well crafted.
 — unknown

I agree with the previous two comments. I feel the last stanza is where your poem loses something...
 — unknown

yup. they all said and i repeat: less obvious imagery. i like the way this one is coming along, but i think the second stanza is the weakest part. the first one is great, but the second is so blatant that it kills the confidence the first one instilled in the reader.
 — jade

oh my, that 'dark room' pun on 36 makes me laugh.
 — semaj

This could be so, so awesome.
 — allie

this is interesting. i'm not sure what to think of it. but i like.
 — listen

i hold hands with the first and anonymous comment!
well done!
 — photobooth

I agree with photobooth and do love photography particularly now that digital camera's have released us from the tyranny of the developing room. Fine poem

Larry click it Lark
 — larrylark

"...you can't take any close-ups when you're focused on infinity."  <--love it, so true in photography, so true in real life.  

 — ducktape

Great as it is my analogue friend
 — useine

line 29 - principles?
 — trochee