Exercise – Interpreting a poem through photographs

The aim of this exercise (and Assignment Two) is to encourage me to develop metaphorical and visceral interpretations rather than the obvious and literal ones, to give a sense of something rather than a record of it. I am aware that my photography in early modules leaned towards literal images, I am working hard to move away from this, so this project and assignment is great for inspiration.

I am to choose a poem that resonates with me and then interpret it through photographs, aiming to give a sense of the feeling of the poem rather than describe it.

I have selected a poem I discovered recently while rooting through my Mum’s “bits and pieces box”. A simple poem by Patience Strong, which by chance, fits well with the theme for Assignment two “Photographing the unseen”.


More Than Meets The Eye
Stand still, look up and scan the sky
There is more than meets the eye
Beyond the clouds that come and go
Beyond the sunset’s golden glow
Beyond the starry tapestry
Beyond what human sight can see
or mighty telescope explore
Go far; there’s always something more
Man, dazed and dazzled can’t deny
There is more than meets the eye
Patience Strong

The easy option would be to accept that the poem refers to the sky and beyond into space. The vastness of the universe and what is beyond our vision (unaided and aided by mighty telescopes) and trying to comprehend what one cannot see or feel. It’s a feel-good poem.

For me the pivotal line is “Go far; there’s always something more”.  From a slightly literal perspective I see it as a motivational statement of encouragement to learn, challenge and explore. However on a more profound level its message speaks of wonder, the unexplained, the unseen, the mysteries of the world – what else is out there. On the surface the narrative is poetic in a romantic, sweet sense and refers to the wonders of nature. This makes for easy reading, but I choose to interpret at a deeper level. The brief suggests reading the poem a few times, I only had to read it once to stir my imagination. Below are images I have taken in response to the narrative and I have included some images from my existing library of photographs.

Encourage. Challenge. Motivate.

P1080376 - Copy   073 - Copy      P1060702 - CopyDSC_5134 - Copy

…There’s always something more

 DSC_4551 - Copy   2016-06-13 16.34.27 - Copy  Matapouri bay 1 - Copy  DSC_4141 - Copy

Mystery and wonder

  20 - Copy    DSC_3048 - Copy

   DSC_3116 - Copy   P1090256 - Copy


   DSC_3528 - Copy     P1050241 - Copy

  DSC_5526 - Copy   grey - Copy

To take this project further I would choose a cohesive series of photographs and add text by picking out lines from the poem. To make it more interesting for the viewer/reader I would re-order lines of the verse.