Eudora Welty on photography and writing

The camera was a hand-held auxiliary of wanting-to-know. It had more than information and accuracy to teach me. I learned in the doing how ready I had to be. Life doesn’t hold still. A good snapshot stopped a moment from running away. Photography taught me that to be able to capture transience, by being ready to click the shutter at the crucial moment, was the greatest need I had. Making pictures of people in all sorts of situations, I learned that every feeling awaits upon its gesture; and I had to be prepared to recognize this moment when I saw it. These were things a storywriter needed to know. And I felt the need to hold transient life in words – there’s so much of life that only words can convey – strongly enough to last me as long as I lived. The direction my mind took was a writer’s direction from the start, not a photographer’s or a recorder’s.

Eudora Welty One Writer’s Beginnings

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