The Photographs of Christopher Woods


Photo of the outside of colorfully painted attic


I have always been interested in visual art. In fact, years ago my wife, Linda, and I owned a small art gallery. But I have long been a writer, and I wondered if personally entering the visual arts might hamper the writing. Wasn’t writing enough for one person? Then my attitude changed. For one thing, my wife and I bought an old farmhouse in the Texas countryside, between Houston and Austin. This transformed our lives. I had always lived in a city, so the new setting, both the beauty and harshness of nature, made an enormous impression on me.


Photo of dead tree under cloudy blue sky
Last Gasp


Silhouette of birds in leafless tree against deeply blue night sky
Night Birds


I was also diagnosed with cancer at that time. My wife, an equine photographer, gave me one of her old cameras. So, I began taking photographs in earnest. It was a totally new experience and it was, like writing, a way to think about something besides cancer treatments. For me, it underscored the importance of exploring one’s creativity. I never took a photography course. I learned and grew and made mistakes all along the way.


Black and white photo of truck pulling trailer with a large cross, people in it


Black and white photo of woman from behind, with hair in braids and small American flags stuck through the braids
Flag Girl


Black and white photo of small house on water with a sign outside that says "Heartbreak"
Heartbreak House


Earlier photographers, like Eugene Atget for his architectural images, certainly impressed me. Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans made me keenly aware of the social statements one could make with photographs. As a writer learns by reading the work of other writers, photographers have much to learn from both classic and contemporary photographers. In this regard, we are blessed to have Instagram and Threads to see photography by so many artists, which is both inspiring and humbling.


Photo of model town at night, with a house, streetlight, and cars
Late Night in Make Believe Town


It’s all trial and error for me. That has not changed. However, in time I learned that I could combine photographs with my writing. I began making picture poems. I love this form, as it brings together my two favorite passions into one experience.


Photo of a barn with a poem overlaid on it
The Well House Lamp, picture poem


Black and white photo of two horses in field
In Their World


I usually make several versions of a photograph—black and white, sepia or color—to see which I prefer. When publishing the photographs, I have learned which publications prefer color or black and white, and so on. By then I normally have three versions of each image.


Photo of backlit, red, industrial, fan


 Photoshop is helpful, but not every image benefits from such saturation.

I did use the older Sony camera that my wife gave me, but that camera died several years ago. So now I use my cell phone, then experiment with filters until I think an image is complete.


Photo of a yard with two yellow house chairs in it, with a white horse on the far background
The Morning After the Night Before


As mentioned, living in a more rural environment changed the way I think about taking pictures. I am much more attuned to nature and its ways. I am also making more picture poems that will hopefully send a message about our relationship with nature in a time when climate change seems so obvious and ominous.


Photo of person in field under a cloudy sky
Solitary Walk


It is a way to combine word and image, which gives me a sense of balance. Otherwise, I hope to continue publishing my photographs in journals. I would like to have a selection of images collected in a book at some point. A new collection of my poems, Maybe Birds Would Carry It Away, will be published this summer.


Photo of silhouette of man under umbrella, with a red wall meeting a beige wall behind him
It Might Rain


I have also been diagnosed with cancer once again and am currently undergoing treatment. I am so thankful that I am still being creative. I do believe creativity can save us from the negativity that can come with life.

Christopher Woods
Christopher Woods is a writer and photographer who lives in Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, The Dream Patch; a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky; and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. His novella, Hearts in the Dark, was published in an anthology by Running Wild Press in Los Angeles. His poetry chapbook, What Comes, What Goes, was published by Kelsay Books. Woods has received residencies from The Ucross Foundation and the Edward Albee Foundation, and a grant from the Mary Roberts Rinehart Foundation. His photographs have appeared in various journals, among them, Cantos, Still Point Quarterly, Pensive, Vassar Review, Months to Years, Flash Frog, Sunlight Press, and 3rd Wednesday. To see more of Woods’s photographs, go to his site:

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One thought on “The Photographs of Christopher Woods”

  1. A terrific look at the creativity process. Thank you for sending this. I gained a lot of insights from it and a few ideas about something I could write. Chris, you are so accomplished and have been acknowledged in so many ways. And you are so humble about them.

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