When I see an empty bench, or a bench with two people having a conversation, my first thoughts are, "What stories have been told on that bench? What are they discussing? What have been the moments of reflection?" I see a story, or several in each bench. I have a folder in my photo archives specifically for benches. I revisit them when I need an inspiration for a story.
I have other collections in my archives that serve the same purpose, but none that produce stories more than benches. I like to convert the photos to black and white. This simplifies the scene, eliminates the clutter color can inject. For some, the last statement might seem odd. More detail, more story, right? Not exactly. I want the raw emotion of the location, why the spot was chosen by the character. I can color in the scene with my written words as the story develops from the bones.
I don't always capture the person, or people, on the bench in a photo. If I do, I capture then from behind or their side silhouette. The story develops besed on their mannerisms more than from the details in their face. And, I'm not out stalking people. I'm capturing a single frame of time and I move along.
Once I have the foundation of the story in black and white, I begin to color in the story as I write. The techniques described in this post are a few that I use to inspire my writing. I'll share others in future posts.