Details distinguish

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

~ Ernest Hemingway

I just returned from a cruise vacation where I finished reading three books and made memories for days with my husband and stepson.

The experience reminds me to pay attention to details. I really appreciated Kelly Corrigan’s memoir “The Middle Place” for many reasons but especially because she includes so many evocative details of your childhood — moments with her dad, brand names, fashion trends — little descriptions that really brought the story to life.

And when I was taking pictures of all the topical islands we visited, I remembered to take pictures of food, flowers and the moments away from photo ops and posed shots. Like this one:

beach shot

My stepson and I were stuck (if you can call it “stuck” when you’re on a tropical island, 100 yards from a modern beach restaurant) when our golf cart got a flat, and my husband left us to fetch a repairman. Stepson sat on this dramatic rock to take in the scenery, and I snapped this “quiet moment” shot, which turned out to be my favorite picture of the whole week.

The lesson here is that no matter what story you’re trying to tell, the details matter. In narrative, it’s descriptive details. How did it smell? How did he sound? What color blue was it like? In photo books, it’s pictures of the subjects on the fringes. Sure, get a shot of the cake, but take a picture of Mom making it, too.

Details matter. Capture them.

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