50 Shades of Inspiration

Where do your inspirations for taking pictures come from? Do you like pictures that tell a story or convey a message? If you’re stuck in a creative rut or just fancy experimenting with your photographic ideas, join us for ‘50 Shades of Inspiration.’

In today’s show, photographer Helen Walker and writer Helen Appleton explore the connection between words, ideas and pictures. It started a bit like this.
Helen A: I write short stories.
Helen W: Can I read a couple of them?

From there, the two Helens chatted into the night (or it might have been the day) about the interesting link between written stories and narrative photography. If you know Helen W’s work, you’ll understand why this piqued her interest. Every picture tells a story, don’t it? As Rod Stewart pointed out some years ago now.

So, what we thought we would try on you is turning the thing around. Instead of looking at the visual image and reading into it what we see, we’re going to give you a choice of 50 word stories and invite you to interpret them with your camera, your imagination and your creativity. To prove we’ve done the leg work, Andrew and Helen W will talk through the images they have produced, using one of Helen A’s stories.

This is not a competition, just a bit of fun to keep you out of mischief during lockdown – or even if you’re not completely locked down and can venture out a little way into the big wide world. For the two Helens’ part of the bargain, they agree mentor you over the next couple of weeks if you want help and encouragement. If you just want fly with it, that’s fine too.

Sound vaguely interesting? Join us for half an hour of confusion over which Helen said what and when. We probably should have called the show ‘A Muddle of Helens’… Anyway, it’s going to be different!

Register now, it's FREE on Crowdcast

Want to get involved? The first ten to register will get advice from the two Helens on how to develop your ideas based on one of the 4 stories.

50 Shades of Inspiration

15 + 11 =

The 4 stories

50k or to the gatepost and back? It’s a serious question. You laugh, raise an eyebrow, insert your AirPods.

We set out, our breath forming vaporous speech bubbles, busy in silent conversation. Me then you.

Soon we are running in harmony, hearts beating in time to the same different tune.

It could be anywhere. He has never been here before.

It could be any moment in time but he knows he is balanced on the knifepoint of now.

It could be anyone. The anonymity is unmistakably unfamiliar.

But it’s here and it’s happening. And it’s not just anyone. It’s her.

Upturned dish clattered on kitchen table. Spoon landed face down, bathed in milk. Cat feigned innocence, lapping languorously; white puddle on terracotta tiles.

Through the open window, violin music soared to the moon and back. Oblivious, little dog twitched her dreams of running free in the land  of nursery rhymes.

“Mummy,” whispered Emily. “Why doesn’t anyone speak?” Her legs swung to the lurching of the packed tube train.

“Because they’re busy.”

She frowned at her mother.


Emily scanned the compartment with the transient wonder and wisdom of children. Then she took her iPad from her bag and fell silent.