Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on stories.
“I story therefore I am.” – Michael Margolis
“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.” – Mary Catherine Bateson
“We live in story like a fish lives in water. We swim through words and images siphoning story through our minds the way a fish siphons water through its gills. We cannot think without language, we cannot process experience without story.” – Christina Baldwin
“Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.” – Michael Shermer
“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” – Jean Luc Goddard
“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.” – Hannah Arendt
“Story is the vehicle we use to make sense of our lives in a world that often defies logic.” – Jim Trelease
“Stories are medicine. They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything – we need only listen.” -Clarisa Pinkola Estes
“This is the sorcery of literature. We are healed by our stories.” – Terry Tempest Williams
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” – Joan Didion
“It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story.” – Thomas Berry
“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.” – Mohandas Ghandi
“No matter what you do in your life, what you create, what career you have, whether you have a family or kinds, or make a lot of money … your greatest creation is always going to be the story of your life.” – Jonathan Harris
“If you’re going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all.” – Joseph Campbell
“Australian Aboriginees say that the big stories – the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life – are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting prey in the bush.” – Robert Moss
“If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.” – Siberian Elder
“We have to have a version of our own story that we keep telling ourselves that allows us to get up in the morning. This version of yourself is what you sell to yourself. I think it necessarily includes … not looking at certain things. Everybody’s got some blind spot.” – Stephen Soderbergh
“A story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important.” ― Donald Miller
“Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves, and you change the individuals and nations.” – Ben Okri
“The stories we tell literally make the world. If you want to change the world, you need to change your story. This truth applies to individuals and institutions.” – Michael Margolis
“Great stories agree with our worldview. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the thirst place.” – Seth Godin
“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” – Hopi Proverb
“Power consists to a large extent in deciding what stories will be told.” ― Carolyn G. Heilbrun
“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” – Walter Cronkite
“It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.” – Native American saying
“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.” – African Proverb
“The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.” – Stephen Jay Gould
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” – Sue Monk Kidd
“Our stories are the tellers of us. ” – Chris Cleave
“Authors do not choose a story to write, the story chooses us.” – Richard Denney
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” – Rudyard Kipling
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” – Brandon Sanderson
“Stories…are like prayers. It does not matter when you begin, or when you end, only that you bend a knee and say the words.” ― Catherynne Valente
“The answer is always in the entire story, not a piece of it.” – Jim Harrison
“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” – Robert McKee
“What happens is fact, not truth. Truth is what we think about what happens.” – Robert McKee
“Storytelling may be what most distinguishes social movements from interest groups.” – Marshal Ganz
“Facts don’t persuade, feelings do. And stories are the best way to get at those feelings.” – Tom Asacker
“The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.” – Harold Goddard
“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.” – James M. Barrie
“Over the years I have become convinced that we learn best – and change – from hearing stories that strike a chord within us … Those in leadership positions who fail to grasp or use the power of stories risk failure for their companies and for themselves.” – John Kotter
“It is the nature of stories to leave out far more than they include.” – Marion Dane Bauer
“Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning.” – John Ruskin
“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou
“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” – Barry Lopez
“In the end all we have…are stories and methods of finding and using those stories.” – Roger C. Shank
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What I don’t know makes this image more interesting.
Several years after making this image, I couldn’t remember whether I had captured the snow photographically or rendered it digitally or if the appearance of snow was created with a combination of both. It was one of the few times where I felt my experience of my images was closer to the experience others have of them. In this instance, I no longer suffered from the curse of knowledge. I was confronted with a mystery. Rather than quickly rushing to open the file and settle the question, as only I could, I chose to cultivate the question and see what useful insights I could find in doing so.
I looked very closely at the image and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at other people’s images of snow and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at snow and saw more than I had seen before. Because of what I didn’t know, I knew more. Because I questioned what I learned (and the ways I learned), I learned more. Not knowing, can be wonderful! You may be pleasantly surprised by what you don’t know.
Many people look to photographs to confirm what they already know or think they know. I prefer to look to photographs to challenge, expand, and enrich what I know. In works of art, sometimes the things that remain unanswered and remain open become more valuable than the things that are answered and closed. The life of a good photograph extends far beyond itself and our initial experience(s) of it.
How do you know what you know?
How many ways can you challenge what you know in order to experience more?
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Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.