Friday, 24 February 2012

POV: The Dove Whisperer & Storytelling

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Regular readers know that I've joined a new storytelling website called Cowbird, and have already posted a couple of mini-stories.

I've just started a few days ago, and I've realized a couple of interesting things. First off, the community of Cowbird are not professional photographers...there are some, but the majority describe themselves as storytellers not as photographers. Secondly, haphazardly eyeballing members' pages, tells me that the majority of them reside in the United States, and by definition tell local stories.

But here's what's interesting as far as I'm concerned. The most popular story among the four I've published so far is The Dove Whisperer. I think there's a number of reasons for that. It's very brief, it's simple and it's touching...and it was one of the 'recommended' stories on Cowbird.

In my multimedia workshops, I stress that stories need to be brief, simple and compelling. So it's not surprising that The Dove Whisperer is more 'magnetic' than the rest of my stories.

And one more thing...and I also stress this in my classes, choosing a title that resonates with one's audience is almost half a battle won. We all know that a title that is mysterious, compelling, unusual but also descriptive is extremely important to the success of one's project...be that a book, article, multimedia slideshow or movie.

I don't know how Cowbird, which is still in its infancy, will evolve and mature....but the possibility of reaching a large (or I should say, a different) audience for my stories through its platform is exciting. 

Finally, The Dove Whisperer was a forgotten moment experienced in Bhutan in September 2009. I was shooting in a small monastery in Jakar when this elderly man appeared with a dove under his arm. I asked what he was doing, and was told he was a bird healer. He was known to tend birds that had broken wings, and released them once they could fly. 

The whole thing didn't last more than five minutes, and yet when I was thinking of a story for Cowbird, I remembered it, searched for the photograph and it was on Cowbird in less time.

It's funny how things remain in the recesses of one's mind, and pop out at the right time.