A picture, plus a thousand words

Photography and poetry merge as a collaboration between two mediums

Festival of Books | The Daily Wildcat Dan Streck's professional photography has ranged from motorsports to roadside memorials, and he has photographed extensively across southern Africa.

The Tucson Festival of Books hosts authors from different genres and showcases their style in many ways. Writing, however, is not the only way one can tell a story.

Photography is another art form that will be presented at the festival.

Dan Streck displays his art in the book “Vanishing Points: Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials,” a collaboration between photography and poetry. 

The project was started by Sarah Cortez, a poet and editor of the book, and Streck. It started after they looked at roadside memorial photos he had taken.


“It was a memorial that was set up on the side of the road, and that, to me, started to tell a story,” Streck said. “I think the impact of those photos just kind of stuck with her.”

The project was proposed: Take photographs of the memorials and marry them with poetry.

Cortez contacted other poets and asked if they would be interested in contributing to the project. Larry Thomas, Jack Bedell and Loueva Smith agreed.

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Cortez and Streck gathered 60 images and divided them among the poets. 

“Each poet was given 15 photographs and asked to work with them and to apply their art to those photos,” Streck said.

It was Cortez’s vision to combine the two forms of poetry and photography and find a “creative way to work,” according to Streck.

The roadside memorials were “impactful and compelling” to Streck, and the stories told were “so moving and created a impact that comes from simply looking at the photos.”

Streck comes to the Tucson Festival of Books with the hope of talking about collaboration and the mixture of two art forms to create a single outcome.

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“I think our hope is that applying the art of poetry to those kinds of photos opens up many other doors in terms of the story that people will hear in their minds when they look at the images,” Streck said.

Streck and Cortez will speak at the Student Union Memorial Center in the Kiva room at 2:30 p.m. on March 10 during the festival.

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