Observing the Ordinary Descriptive writing involves translating perceptions
Observing the Ordinary Descriptive writing involves translating perceptions into words, and includes 2 primary components: the object and the observer. Depending on which component is emphasized, the description will take on either an objective or a more impressionistic tone.
Characteristics/purpose of objective description Characteristics/purpose of impressionistic description
Most of us need to see an object in order to give accurate, detailed description. Even if we are all looking at the same object, our descriptions are likely to be different depending on who we are, the perspective from which we view the object, and the details we find important.
Look at William Eggleston’s photo below and write a half page objective description of the scene. In this description focus on the 5 details you find most important.
Now, observe the image again. This time write a half-page impressionistic description of the scene. In this description connect the 5 details you previously identified with the impression or impressions you are associate with them. Use language that suggests mood, meaning, and your impressions; this should be an emotional response.
Observing the ordinary with fresh eyes not only sharpens our skills of description, it also helps develop our ability to draw inferences. Drawing inferences involves seeing more than what is actually visible. Inferences are discoveries of things we can’t literally see. Look at the photo below; what inferences would you draw from this image?
Homework: Take a photo of an ordinary scene from your life (do not include people). Think about the angle, the lighting, and focal point of your photo- make it interesting; try to photograph this scene with “fresh-eyes”. Bring either a quality color print of the photo, or email a digital copy of the image to yourself to be shared with the class. Due next class.