Photography & Poetry
Introduction by Alain Briot
Poem and Photograph by Lenore Horowitz

Other essays in this series

We think of photography as purely visual, and rightfully so. After all, it is a visual art, and some of you might wonder what is the point of discussing this. Fact is, many photographers are also writers. While some publish both their photographs and their writings, most publish only their photographs.

For some reason, I have found that many photographers are also excellent writers and that some actually move on to careers that require verbal skills. To take but a few examples, Barry Goldwater, who is best known for his tenure as Arizona Senator, was an excellent photographer before that, being published regularly in Arizona Highways (being a senator requires extensive verbal skills). Ansel Adams became famous both for his photography and for his writings, essentially his Technical series which focused on the different parts of the photographic process, but also for other writings related to the landscapes he photographed. Philip Hyde wrote extensively about protecting Nature, and so did many other photographers, impacting their audience with their prose as much as with their images. More recently, and on the internet now, Michael Reichman writes extensively on a wide range of subjects related to photography, from technique, to equipment to travel accounts. Finally, I write regularly about a number of subjects myself, with a personal preference for matters that are related to art.

This brings us to the matter at hand today which is poetry, and more specifically the poetry of Lenore Horowitz. Lenore attended one of our workshops (the Antelope Canyon workshop to be precise) and this is how I learned about her poems.

This is not a litterary criticism class, so I won't engage in a discussion of Lenore's Poems. Suffice it to be said that I enjoy reading them, so much so that I decided to publish one here. I believe you will too. So take a deep breath, clear your mind of all other concerns, and enjoy the prose that follows. And who knows, you may find that the muses will visit you as a result of reading this poem. Inspiration dwells in the most unlikely places, and poetry is one of its favorite haunts.



Dawn over the Grand Tetons

We set out before dawn,
find the recommended trail
along the stream,
stepping over logs,
through mud,
not knowing,
in the dark,
what we will find
or where.
Then just beyond
the darkest turning,
we see them shadowed–
Tripods at the ready,
set out along the stream.

The moon is a silver fawn
nestled in the still dark sky,
while photographers
gear already bracketed,
clamped, and leveled,
take aim.
It’s still too dark for metering,
but the beavers are out,
swimming in gleaming ripples
across the perfect reflection
of mountain, trees, and moon
framed so perfectly in viewfinders,
even upside down.

Still the cameras,
do not move.
Hands hold meters,
sight the crosshairs
on the elements of the carefully defined scene,
framing just so much of
sky and stream and mountain,
as fit the rule of thirds.

Then shutters all at once begin to fire
rat tat tat
on the unmoving moon!
Targeted exposures
bracket each calculated combination
of aperture and shutter
till the moon falls behind the mountains,
and the dawn
breaks and spills its heart
over all these careful photographers
in colors and bird song
while they dismantle setups,
bend to stow lenses, cameras inside
their cushioned bags,
dreaming silently
of images
they’ve yet to see

Lenore Horowitz

You can read more poems by Lenore, as well as see her photographic work, on her website:

Introduction Copyright © Alain Briot 2006
Poem and photograph Copyright © Lenore Horowitz 2006.
All rights reserved worldwide