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Photo © Cynthia Staples
Cynthia Staples : The Frog, The Flower and The Rock

Words & Images

The Frog, The Flower & The Rock

Finding Inspiration through Collaboration

By Cynthia Staples

During a recent excursion to a frozen pond, I squatted by the water's edge. The sun warmed the pond's surface, and shimmered in the ice melt. My attention focused on the thick bands of ice along the pond's rim. It was Steve, standing nearby waiting for me to finish my shoot, who said softly, "What if you threw a rock out there?" At my frown, he added, "There's just enough water out there to be a reflective surface. A tight shot of the rock reflected might be interesting." Just as he threw a rock, his phone rang and so he walked away. I waited by the pond. Ripples beautifully marred the surface. Eventually the pond grew serene. Simultaneously, the sky brightened and that's when I saw it. I took the shot.

Photo © Cynthia Staples

A few weeks later, I showed Steve a fuchsia plant I intended to photograph the next morning. The shot was clear in my mind. Sunlight would illuminate the leaves and fill the wide open blossom. But something happened. The table was jostled. The blossom fell, pink and perfect, to the table. Behind me, Steve said, "What if…?"

Photo © Cynthia Staples

He raced to his kitchen cabinet where he selected a lovely little glass that he filled with water. Gently, he dropped the blossom into the glass where it floated like a lilly pad in an ornate miniature pond. "Hmmm, if only you had a teeny tiny frog to place on one its petals." Well, in fact, I did have a tiny frog, a small brass charm not yet given to a friend. It took a few attempts but eventually flower and frog were joined in a single frame.

Photo © Cynthia Staples

Photo © Cynthia Staples

I have written of being inspired by the imaginations of young children. Quite frankly, it is easy to be open to the whimsy of a child. It is sometimes harder to open up oneself to the imaginations and suggestions of a fellow adult. With Steve, and with others in my life, I am continually reminded that being a better photographer is not only about learning technical skills, it is about learning to listen. And it is about being willing to take chances, even small ones like throwing a rock across the water or placing small frogs on flowers petals. Photography may be mostly a solitary endeavor but how much more fun one can have through collaboration. •

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© 2011 Cynthia Staples. All rights reserved.

Photo by Cynthia StaplesCynthia Staples is a highly creative writer and photographer living in the Boston area. Her words and images capture moments and memories and weave together inspiring stories for her readers. More »

Updated 4/17/14