Image File Litmus Test: The picture's content doesn't matter. What matters is that I get a sense that the world of the image extends beyond the canvas or photograph.
Warning: You need to set some limits for yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day, and the same is true for image files. You could waste hours of precious writing time collecting images of characters you're never going to use. This is why I prefer postcards. Every time I visit a museum or a new city, I take five minutes in a gift shop to buy a few postcards. At first I had only a handful of images, but over time the collection has grown, and without much time, money or effort spent.
Tip: If you have family or friends who travel, ask them to send you a postcard with a "picture that tells a story." This way, your image file can grow even if you're not collecting the images yourself. They'll get sent to you! Also, it will be interesting to see what images they choose.
Here are a couple of pictures to help you get started.
|Eugene Atget, Staircase, Montmartre (1921)|
|Henri Cartier-Bresson, Juvisy, France (1938)|
|Karen Halverson, Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California (1992)|
|Edward Hopper, Movie (1939)|
|Archibald John Motley Jr., Nightlife (c.1943)|
|Pierre Auguste Renoir, Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise (1875)|
|Gerhard Richter, Woman Descending the Staircase (1965)|
|Sheron Rupp, Trudy in Annie's Sunflower Maze, Amherst, MA (2000)|
|August Sander, Children, Westerwald (1920)|
|John Singer Sargent, Fumee D'Ambre Gris (1880)|
Homework: Find 5 additional images for your image. These can be postcards, pictures clipped from magazines or even images you captured with a camera or sketchbook. The important thing is that all five images help us find a character.
Are there any artists or photographers you recommend who are especially good at capturing such images? Any must-haves I should add to my image file?