Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sydney Logan Week 14: First Impressions

Picture 1

Picture 2

Sydney Logan’s Picture Choice: 2

Title: First Impressions

The teacher displayed the picture for the class to see.

“What’s that?” Blake, an inquisitive blonde, asked the teacher.

“What do you think it is?”

“A road?”

The teacher nodded. “Where does the road lead?”

The students narrowed their eyes as they appraised the black and white photograph.

“We can’t tell,” Gaby, a student sitting in the front row, replied. “It’s all foggy and gloomy.”

“And the fences are weird,” Jake noted.

Creative writing was a challenge to teach, especially in high school.

How can you teach creativity?

The teacher asked some leading questions to encourage them to think. Does the picture seem old or modern? Does it appear to be taken in a particular area of the country? Does the picture make you feel happy? Sad?

“Sad,” Gaby muttered. “Definitely sad.”

“Why?” the teacher asked.

“Because it’s creepy.”

“Because it’s in black and white?”

The class nodded.

“Probably leads to a haunted house . . .” Blake said.

“Where a family of serial killers live,” Gaby concluded.

“Interesting.” The teacher walked around her desk and pointed toward the picture. “What if I told you this road leads to a beautiful southern plantation in Georgia? What if I told you at the end of the road lives a couple who have been married for more than fifty years? They have four children and six grandchildren and are blissfully happy.”

“I wouldn’t believe you,” Gaby said. “People who live at the end of that road couldn’t be happy.”

The teacher smiled.

“Your opinion . . . your perception . . . is influenced by the black and white photograph,” she explained. “I can confirm the story about the plantation and happy couple, because the happy couple is my grandparents. This picture was taken in the winter, so naturally, the trees would be bare. Georgia doesn’t get much snow, but you’ll notice the dusting on the road as it leads toward the house.”

The class murmured their fascination.

“People say first impressions are everything, and in many cases, that’s true. But often, we don’t take the time to look beyond that first glimpse. We judge people by their clothes. We judge books by their covers. We judge people who live at the end of dirt roads. Maybe if we took the time to look a little deeper, we’d learn more and be a little less judgmental. Maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to assume . . . or to think the worst.”

The teacher displayed another picture – the same picture, but in color. The trees were in full bloom and the lush green field was visible along each side of the fence.

“Wow,” Gaby breathed softly. “It really is pretty.”

The teacher nodded at the girl.

“Yes, it really is.”


Sydney Logan lives in Tennessee with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat. Her debut novel, Lessons Learned, will be released in September. Please visit her website at



  1. Fantastic job with that prompt. I loved the message the teacher was trying to explain to her students. I was also someone who looked at that photo and could only see the gloom and doom of the World War that I thought the image was taken from. Lovely change in perspective! Great job!

    And thank you again for switching with me. I owe you one!

  2. Great job with the photo, first impressions really can be just surface value, can't they? There is more to a story or a picture easily if one looks deep enough. What a great lesson to teach.