Writing Celluloid Dreams


Writing well is a lot like photography. It involves staying in a place and opening your aperture wide for a long exposure, so that you can gather the most light. The longer you sit at that cafe table or mosque or mountain peak, the more grain and detail will begin to come clear.

Focused time allows deeper impressions and images to form on the surface of your mind — but like a camera lens, you can leave the film exposed too long. Spend too much time in a place and you lose your sense of perspective. The details no longer stand out from the background. Your aperture remains open too long, and that sensory impression is washed out or blackened. Your image is overexposed.

Writing about a place is a delicate experience. Like photography.


About the author

Ryan Murdock

Author of A Sunny Place for Shady People and Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Writer at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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