“Words are like boxes. Images bleed. “


Poppy fields from Nance Longley on Vimeo.

Memory, sentiment, emotion — many feelings can be conveyed more eloquently with an image than through the written word. Even though words can have several meanings or be used in multiple contexts, they tend to be specific. An image can tell a unique story each time it is viewed, even when viewed by the same person several times. Words are individual symbols for language whereas a picture is an entire story.

With this in mind I used the poppy field image I had worked on all semester and combined it with a few photos from a 19th century prairie town in southwestern Minnesota. I chose an evocative track from Andrew Bird to pull the piece together. All of the pieces have a personal resonance for me and my own story, so it became very satisfying to see it all come together, despite my novice-level Flash skills.

I was fortunate to come across these wonderful photos through a friend of mine. They were taken by Rev. John Gmeiner, a priest in southwestern Minnesota at the turn of the last century. Gmeiner documented daily life in his parish with a large format view camera using glass negatives. He photographed with the empathy of someone who knew his subjects well — a boy with a half-eaten cookie, a gang of girls whirling in a circle on the school playground, an unhappy little girl, then the same girl with her mother (but still not happy). These are just a very few of the everyday scenes and stories he captured of the life in that little town on the prairie. Adding these images to my hand-hewn prints made more sense than a dancing lady and was more personal.

I created the flexagons as a “souvenir” piece partly because I love how they work (especially with a hidden “bonus track”) and also because they are a nice complement to my set of prints. Here’s a guide to the folding/unfolding process to see the sixth side after you get to the fourth side (with lots of  text). —Nance


One response to ““Words are like boxes. Images bleed. “

  1. Hi Nance!

    I was just trying to upload my movie, but found the following (link below) about uploading videos to wordpress. I guess I might post mine to youtube and give a link, but I’ve never done that before either. I’m not sure if this helps you since I’m not seeing your file type listed..
    anyway, good luck finding a way!

    Have a great break,


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