Posted by: Naomi Baltuck | June 1, 2014

To See a World…


“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower…”

       –William Blake, Auguries of Innocence


…or in one click of a camera.

One picture is worth a thousand words.  Some pictures lay out the facts, like a road map.

But others have all the elements of a great novel, crammed into one quick snap.







Greater purpose…

For me, the best stories raise questions as well as give answers.


They present universal dilemmas, and show us how people learn to cope with trauma or loss.

A disaster becomes a compelling tragedy, although the victims lived two thousand years ago, if we can relate to their suffering.  And who can’t?

We like to tie up our stories in neatly arranged ribbons and give them happy endings.  Who doesn’t love a happy ending?

But that’s not always possible.  Perhaps the best stories–and photographs–just remind us of what it is to be human.

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Theme: Split-Second Story.


  1. Great post for the challenge, Naomi. I remember that figure in Pompeii, so clearly. It really touched my heart. Love the second image. Very clever. 😀

    • Dear Sylvia,
      I found it extremely moving as well–as if all the suffering of the world and of all time were portrayed in this one sad figure. The second image is from the Natural History Museum in New York, which provided many fun and silly photo ops!
      Thanks so much for the visit, and for sharing your thoughts on this post.

  2. Love this…”Perhaps the best stories–and photographs–just remind us of what it is to be human.” Totally agree!

    • Thank you, Britt! I’m sure that is reflected in your writing. I appreciate the visit.

  3. Being human – that covers so many things, doesn’t it? Love the first photo of the signs! Birds, be aware! Do not cross here.

  4. I love that quote by William Blake. And, I love the last picture of the man with the dog. Pictures like that always make me wonder about the life of the subject. What’s their story?

    • Dear Naomi,
      Thank you for your visit, and for the very kind words. That’s my Uncle Lewis, my Dad’s little brother, with his dog Peanuts. He went off to fight in World War II, and at twenty years old, he was killed on the Siegfried Line. Here is his story:

      • Oh, what a beautiful and heartbreaking story, Thank you for sharing it.

  5. These are such wonderful photos that just say so much… I love the first one “before and after”… brilliant share..

  6. I am intrigued by the sculpture. I imagine a person huddled against an eruption, then quickly encased in ash….

    • Dear Scilla,
      That is exactly what this is–the hole left by a human encased in ash after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. After centuries the body disintegrated, leaving a hole which was filled with plaster by the scientists who excavated Pompeii. There were others too. It is like a snapshot of these people’s last moments on earth, capturing in body language what they must have been feeling. It is very moving.

      • Hmm… I think I must have seen some of these before.

  7. super fun – all of them – and really like the before and after – hahah

  8. You’ve done it again. Your pictures and words lead us on an exploration with you. The first one cracked me up. All the photos tell a different story but what really got me was photo #10. Sure we had big hair in the 60’s, but never like the lady at the piano. Ha ha ha. ❤

  9. A wonderful journey of photos and words again!!!. I explored Pompeii some years ago and find that particular photograph very moving.

  10. Gorgeous photos all, Naomi, but the one of your uncle is so very, very poignant and beautiful.

  11. I love photos telling the story, leaves it to the reader to interpret!

  12. These are wonderful photos Naomi and I love the way each tells a picture. I didn’t realise until reading the comments that the Pompeii picture is actually a hole left by a human encased in ash – wow, what a sobering image.

    I love the pic of your uncle and am heading over now to read his story.

  13. that before and after sign is very powerful.

  14. Love your thoughts and the appropriate photos to go with them!

  15. Beautiful. Inspiring. Thank you!

  16. This challenge seems to have been made for you Naomi! Each of your images tells a compelling story and I remember and love every single one 🙂

  17. Great post, Naomi! I love how you can see stories in everything, even simple things most of us don’t notice. Thanks for bringing them to my attention 🙂

  18. There seems to be a lot of debate these days about the definition of photography in the modern digital age and photo processing. But really, the answer is simple. “Photographs–just remind us of what it is to be human.” Well said, Naomi, and lovely photos!

  19. Wonderful post. . . the pictures and words really carried me forward toward the concluding linel

    I loved the road signs with the birds. A picture sure is worth a thousand words. 🙂

    • thank you so much! I had to laugh when I saw that sign, and Thom pulled over so I could snap a photo. Someone out there Down Under has a great sense of humor and a good Permanent marker! Soon after that we saw our first Cassowary in the wild.

  20. Ugh! I wish my family and I were as creative with poses and picture-taking as you are. I need to remember to take more creative shots.

    • Hey, Juliann, you take some very fun shots. But here’s a secret my sister taught me: People will do almost anything for the one with the camera. Ask people to pose for you, any pose, any place, and point the camera at them–and they will usually comply for the sake of the shot. Of course, it helps to have kids I don’t seem to be able to embarrass. Practice on the upcoming trip with your brother and post some fun shots for us when you get back. Have a great trip!

  21. Yes, I agree with you about the best stories raising questions as well as giving answers. I love reading novels or watching films that leave you thinking about them for a long time after you’ve closed the book or turned off the tv.

    I love the colour of that mule.

    • Hi Sarah,
      Talk about an odd couple! That little guy was following the mare all over that field. She seemed indifferent and he seemed patient and persistent (stubborn as a mule?). But that worked for my husband, and I wished the mule good luck too.
      Thanks for the visit, and for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      • I think that a mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, so maybe your mare was trying to disown an embarrassing mistake!

  22. Pictures indeed speak a thousand words and remind us that we all are humans connected to each other in one form or another, past or present, near or far, young or old, regardless of where we live in this beautiful, amazing world. Always a joy to see images and life through your eyes and lens.

    • Thank you. It is always good to hear from you. Sending you and your family my best wishes!

  23. Beautiful story Naomi. I can’t pick a favorite picture because they are all so compelling… 🙂

  24. You have caught so many great moments here Naomi. Wonderful!

  25. Great post, wonderful images Naomi. It is so wonderful to see moments in time like these captured through a lens….for everyone to appreciate.

    • Dear Pennie,
      Thank you so much for the visit, and for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  26. Your posts are always a treat. They are always kept until I have time to savor them fully.

    • Thank you, Patti! I feel the same about yours.

      • Aw, thanks!

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