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Julia Strayer – #febflash

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Julia Strayer



I love writing to photos. They open new worlds and new possibilities.

Google “Street Photography” and select the images tab. Choose the first photo that grabs your attention. Write the story. Don’t overthink; don’t think at all. Just write. Don’t read what you’re writing. Don’t revise or edit in any way. Just write and keep writing.

If you’re stuck, you can answer questions: Who is the character in the photo—what makes them tick, where do they live, where did they come from, where are they going, what’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to them, what’s the last funny thing they heard, what pain do they carry, what’s their biggest fear, what’s their greatest regret? Sometimes it helps to become that person and tell their story first person.

Set a timer for ten minutes and write quickly. When time’s up, choose another photo and reset the timer. Do this for five photos back-to-back.

You can also add other descriptors to your Google search. “Street Photography Vintage” brings up very different results from “Street Photography Funny” or “Street Photography Interesting” or “Street Photography Funny” or Street Photography Mothers.”

There are no rules. Have fun!


Julia Strayer has stories in, or forthcoming at, The Cincinnati Review, Glimmer Train, Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Post Road, SmokeLong Quarterly, and others, including The Best Small Fictions 2015. She teaches at New York University and thinks she’s writing a novel.


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