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Storytelling In The Time Of Covid

 

Storytelling In The Time Of Covid

In the book of human experience, I believe COVID just might get its own chapter. This is a story quite unlike anything in our lifetime and it’s a story that is still being written on an hour-by-hour basis. Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and sound.

I am currently in my studio, but I am looking across the room at my husband who is engrossed in yet another book. He reads nearly one hundred books a year and will read just about anything he can get his hands on. When I ask, “What are you reading now?” The answer might be “The History of the Umbrella,” or “Uruguayan Pop Stars of the 1970s.” Topic wise, nothing is off limits, but from time to time I have to ask a follow up question, “Why would you read that?” His answer is almost always the same, “It’s a great story.”

This got me thinking. Hmm, story. Storytelling has been part of our species since the discovery of fire; which allowed us to determine we had a self. It allowed us to begin creating language, music, art, and this DNA is still an integral part of our existence. Yes, we are living the story of COVID, but we are also living poignant smaller stories hidden inside our current predicament.

One of my mini-stories is my rediscovery of some of the photography books in my library. When collecting books, I often seek out those created by master storytellers, photographers who create photographic essays that tell a complete story even without text. They resonate with me in a unique way that is difficult to explain.

Two books that stand out are “The Blue Room” by Eugene Richards and “The House I Once Called Home” by Duane Michals. These are beautiful wonderfully edited and sequenced gems from two very different people who have dedicated their entire lives to photographic storytelling. The work is so powerful it allows me, just for a moment, to be transported onto the page, into the story, complete self-absorption, and an escape from anything else that might be troubling me.

And when I’m done, I enter my studio and attempt to recreate that same opportunity for anyone interested in my particular form of human adornment. I look at my bead collection; lapis lazuli from Afghanistan or turquoise from New Mexico and I see stones but I also begin to imagine the story of the stone itself. From where precisely did it emerge? How many human hands passed over these surfaces and how can I hone my skills to ensure I do justice to everyone involved in the story of the stone?

And if you are reading this post it means that your story and my story are also intertwined, and for this, I’m eternally grateful.

4 comments

  • Hi Amy love your blogposts!!!!. keep em coming. You have a great writing style.
    luv laura

    laura morton
  • Very nice image and writing…

    Tony Bonanno
  • Always wonderful hearing your great words of wisdom. If you make jewelry as well as you write, your artwork should be on demand in our finest shops and museums. After Covid I’ll come to Santa Fe for a visit.

    Jerry Goffe
  • Yes indeed. I remember these books. Landt and I did the first book on collecting photography, before Lee Within’s even. COLLECTING PHOTOGRAPHS | A Guide to the New Art Boom (E.P. Dutton). Love the blog…love the graphics here…color…LOLisl

    Lisl Dennis

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