Find the Story before You Snap

Jun 5 2016

by Catherine Hamrick

Okay, I’m a word person. But today’s work-a-day world demands multiple skills. Hence, I acquired an upgraded iPhone to join billions of snap-happy amateurs overloading libraries with pictorial mediocrity.

Then a friend who is a professional photographer thumb-slid through my latest floral collection. “It’s okay to kill any of these darlings–unless you see a story in the picture.”

That immediately appealed to the fierce editor within. I now shoot fast but delete 99.9 percent of the images if “there is no there there” (thank you, Gertrude Stein).

Moreover, this topsy-turvy thinking pushed me in a fresh creative direction: look for the story in the picture and dare to pen it. That launched my second shot at poetry–decades after studying with a protégé of James Dickey. What’s more, dabbling in poetry sharpened my storytelling.

Two selections from my chapbook in progress–Skipping through Gardens–follow:

“magnolia (never a moonlit lie)”

“shadow of death on a sidewalk”

poem: look for the story in the picture chamrick

Catherine Hamrick is a communications manager. She blogs at Random Storyteller, which features creative nonfiction (often with a Southern twist), poetry, musings, and writing tips. You can also find poetry and social media commentary at Catherine Hamrick.



Catherine Hamrick View More Blog Posts from this Author

After a few years as a copywriter for the Southern Living Advertising Department, editor and writer Catherine Hamrick learned her craft in the magazine and book divisions of media giants Time Inc. and Meredith Corporation. She taught writing, literature, public speaking, and business communication at the university level. As a freelancer, Catherine has tackled "almost every topic but porn and physics" and has managed editorial projects or co-authored branded books for imprints such as Southern Living, Oxmoor House, Meredith Books, Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Country Home, Midwest Living, The Home Depot, Ortho, and Lark Publishing. Certified in social media marketing, she coaches students and professionals in writing resumes, cover letters, and online profiles. She is also a ghostwriter—that is, a professional keeper of secrets. Connect @ChamrickWriter or drop by her blogs: Random Storyteller ( and Catherine Hamrick: Writer, Editor, Social Media Human (

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