Updated: 7 days ago
How to re-channel creative energy during a pandemic. Nature photographer turns to poetry and publishes a book.
What does an outdoor, landscape photographer do when organizers cancel photo trips and governments issue stay-at-home orders during a global pandemic?
I decided, “why not revisit my catalog of images.” Hundreds of images from past trips residing in my digital catalog have never been exposed to the touches of any digital processing. So, I figured there must be a few forgotten gems waiting for discovery.
Before I could begin thumbing through these innocent untouched files, many of my seasoned portfolio images started calling out to me. Their calling touched my heart and it listened—drawing me in.
You see, my heart was hurting as I attempted to coop with the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic. But, my heart stilled while listening to the whispers from nature captured within these images. Nature captured within my photographs spoke to me, offering comfort and solace, as long as I listened with my heart.
Each day, my morning began with this conversation. I opened my heart to listen while my eyes joined the nature contained in one of my images. My hands wrote down the words whispered from nature through my heart. The words came forth as poetry—a new creative outlet.
chaos all around distracted mind confusing patterns look inward still thyself calmness awaits seek the light feel the energy stay centered rise with the sun, sunrise sunday
Each morning, I posted my images along with its associated poem on social media with limited tagging. Most of the images had been previously posted so they were not new to my followers but the poems were new. This combination of poem and photograph was birthed and released to the world each morning. Fresh. Raw.
Days into my daily practice (listening, writing, and posting), several friends and viewers started commenting about the comfort they, too, received from the combination. Then weeks later, I realized I could create a book that combined the image and the poems on accompanying pages (a spread). Again, several people shared the same idea with me.
After 73 days, I decided to pause the morning dialog practice and focus on the book. Creating a book and publishing it – what was I getting into? But I knew it was the right the step to take. So, I began consuming everything on the Internet about self-publishing a book. I watched YouTube videos, read blogs, downloaded templates, purchased desktop publishing software, and even took a weekend workshop on poetry.
Since June 1st, I digitally assembled my photo-poetry book, edited and re-edited the poems, adjusted and re-adjusted page layouts, created several book cover designs, sought out printing estimates from 3 book printers, and built book mock-ups. Book design, another new creative outlet I learned during the pandemic.
There is still more to be done. I’m seeking copyright permissions to use a few quotes as section dividers, courting someone to add kind words as the book’s Foreword, and working with some people on sponsorship to defray the printing costs and boosting the print run size.
Watch my Instagram account for the announcement to pre-order. ORDER HERE**update - I never received permission for the quotes so I used public domain quotes instead. But I was able to get best selling author and philanthropist, Melinda Gates to write the book's foreword. Book sales have gone well and I'm working on the second book "AWARENESS: Whispers From Nature" that should be released in Spring 2021.
©2020 All Rights Reserved Kent J Burkhardsmeier