Writing Exercise: Reminisce by Proxy

Photo Courtesy Moriah Beagel

Look through someone else’s old photo albums for photos of people and places you know little to nothing about. Old black-and-white-turned-sepia photos work well for this exercise. The less information you have about the context and the people in the photos, the less likely you are to just retell the “true” story leading up to the moment the photo was taken; the less information you have, the more your imagination can fill in.

Not sure where to find old photographs? Consider asking your grandmother, or your aunt, or even your friend’s brother’s mother-in-law for a gander at their old albums. They will likely be thrilled that you are interested in looking at something that is personally important to them, and in fact took pains to preserve over the years. If this is not an option for you, consider cruising antique shops in your area for boxes of old photographs. In many ways, these are the best. You can develop full characters and entire histories for the individuals whose likenesses appear on these little squares of photo-finished paper.

Post your resulting character sketch, narrative, poem or paragraph in the comments section below.

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