More strange and disturbing images to fire your imagination

Once again I have found an intriguing collection of images that I hope will be of use to you guys as sparks to your ideas.   In other words, I hope that the images below will give you ideas for stories as opposed to using them in stories.

So, lets get started on them……………

Now this is a restaurant with a difference!  A weirdly odd and somewhat Edwardian effect.  Many years ago whilst on a winter tour of Scotland with the Little Angel Puppet Theatre we found ourselves at John O’Groats which has a truly odd restaurant as well – and when we arrived there, a totally empty place (it was January after all) we were greeted by this odd building and Hawaiian guitar music blaring out of a public address system…   All very odd.

One or other of these two odd images should give you ideas for a story…..  Though certainly with a Gothic feel I would imagine.

From the sublime to the ridiculous now.

I would imagine that this silly photo could be the basis for a Sci-Fi story at the very least…….  Whilst it is a simple bit of image jiggery-poky and is also mildly funny, it could be the basis of a story about a world in which people’s bodies are manipulated for some reason…..   What do you think?

This is simply silly……………   But it is a new look at an old legend perhaps?

Now I have selected three more odd or curious images that give me  pause for thought, each one of which seem to me to be ripe with an internal story.

What is happening in them and could one perhaps use all three of them in one story?

Well, perhaps one might use the first two in one story, but I am damned if I can see how one might use the third image in the same story as the first two.

And to finish with, here is a collection of creatures that one would not like to come up against on a dark and stormy night – or even on a sunny day come to think of it!   I have no idea what or who they are, I suspect it is some sort of Swiss (or Scandinavian) religious ceremony that has been stolen (as is the case with just about all Christian festivals) from a pre-Christian festival.    But whatever it actually is all about, it seems to me to be begging for a story to use it as a central feature of the story.   So, lets see what you can do with this one!

If any of these images have been a help for you in any way, please do let me know what you used them for.

Fred Einaudi – A Very Odd And Morbid Artist

Fred Einaudi is one of the oddest and most disturbing painters working today – or at least that is my feeling, and once you have had a look at some of the paintings below, I think you will probably agree with me on this. So before discussing this artist, I thought i would give you […]

Fred Einaudi is one of the oddest and most disturbing painters working today – or at least that is my feeling, and once you have had a look at some of the paintings below, I think you will probably agree with me on this.

So before discussing this artist, I thought I would give you an example of his work, so you know what it is we are looking at here.


This is reasonably typical of his work.   Most of his paintings are extremely realistic, in the sense that they could be photos, but in fact all his work is oil on canvas, and all of them without exception are morbid and worrying in what they depict.

So, who is this guy?  Well he was born  in 1971 in a small town in Nevada, but moved to San Francisco as soon as he was able, which is where he now lives and works.

And this is what he looks like…..


Sort of tells you a lot I feel.

The next question I wanted an answer to was why he paints such depressing images? Does he have a death fixation?  Is he simply sick, or is there a much deeper reason for his choice of subject? Continue reading “Fred Einaudi – A Very Odd And Morbid Artist”

Haunting Images Of Abandoned Places

Kenneth Provost is a Belgian photographer of abandoned places.  Wandering around his native Belgium with his camera in his hand he discovers all manner of abandoned factories, houses and similar urban detritus, and makes the most wonderful photos of them. Apparently he was given his first serious camera about 4 years ago, and promptly went […]

Kenneth Provost is a Belgian photographer of abandoned places.  Wandering around his native Belgium with his camera in his hand he discovers all manner of abandoned factories, houses and similar urban detritus, and makes the most wonderful photos of them.

Apparently he was given his first serious camera about 4 years ago, and promptly went out into his city of Ostend and discovered that he was surrounded by the most wonderful old and abandoned buildings, which he proceeded to explore with the happy results you will see below.

All of his photos have the quality of suggesting that some sort of important and significant events occurred to or in the places he shows us, which he doesn’t feel any need to expand upon, simply leaving it up to us to conjure up an explanation of what we are looking at.  They hint at tragic events, terrible loss of life, the breakdown of society and all manner of other equally serious events.

The main reason that I wanted to draw your attention to his work, is that all of his photos would be superb as starting points in any writing classroom.  Each of them contains enough emotion and imagery to supply an entire story line for a short story at the very least.

I shall post a few of his images below to give you a taste of his vision of the world, and also his website so that you can go directly to him and buy any images that you feel would be useful to you.

I emphasise the idea of buying his images from him, as this is how the man makes his living, and it would obvioulsy be totally wrong to make use of his vision without paying for it, so if you like what you see below, please go by his online shop and purchase as many as you can use.

Link to his Website:  Kenneth Provost, Photographer.

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Pictures To Produce Ideas

The internet is a source of the most amazing and extraordinary images, many of which simply cry out to be used as starting points for short stories.   For example, if you see this photo (see below) it has to make your mind begin to wander around all manner of possible stories.


What on earth is happening in this photo?   Why is that nonchalant young woman sitting on her bed apparently being embraced by a large and peaceful bear?  Is the bear comforting her?  Why is she apparently ignoring the bear?  What on earth is she doing, dressed only in her nightgown, with a large and amiable bear beside her?

As you can see, such an image could surely be used by your students (or yourself) as the starting point (or equally, the end point) of a short story of just about any genre.

I have long been fond of using such images to get my writing juices flowing, and the advent of the internet has been a real boon to individuals such as I in this respect.   So much easier than having to go to a library and ploughing through volumes of stuff to find that one exciting image that I need to get me going.

Continue reading “Pictures To Produce Ideas”

Abandoned Places Have A Beauty All Their Own

It is a curious fact that abandoned houses, towns and other man made objects, when we have finished with them, and left them to rot away on their own, frequently acquire a new sort of beauty, as I hope you will see in the photos I have collected from around the web to illustrate this point.

Generally when we think about stuff that we have thrown away, or abandoned, we tend to think that it will be ugly, messy and generally a bad idea, as in this image below.


And of course, to a large extent this view is correct, rubbish is rubbish, and highly undesirable.   But having said that, there remains a sort of haunting beauty in old and abandoned buildings and cities.

A tristesse is always lurking in the background whenever one finds oneself confronted with the ruins of what was once a home, or a village.   If you consider the photo below, you will see what I mean.

abandoned bedroom

On one level this is a horrible, rotting mess, but on another level one is forced to think about the people who used to live in this room, what sort of stuff did they watch on that remarkably clean looking TV set, why did they have such large armchairs in their bedroom, set out in order to watch TV in comfort?   Who were they, and why did they leave?  I am afraid I have no idea, as I do not know anything about this image, other than what it says for itself.   Patently a sad story is lurking in the background here, something that caused them to leave quite hurriedly it would seem.

Even in buildings that were never lived in by families, we see the same sort of brooding atmosphere.   This image of an abandoned Sanatorium in Germany is such an image.

Continue reading “Abandoned Places Have A Beauty All Their Own”

Face Swap – Deeply Disturbing Images

I don’t know if you have noticed a rather disturbing new activity on-line, especially in places such as Facebook, and that is the “art” of Face Swapping.   Basically this takes the form of taking a photo of two or more people or animals and using a program such as Photoshop, swapping the faces over, so you end up with, for example, a photo of a man and his baby, in which the adult body has the face of the baby, and the baby’s body has the face of the adult, as in this example here…..


You see what I mean about it being rather disturbing?

I first saw this idea when a series of beautifully executed images of Rowan Atkinson appeared on-line, in which his face had been placed in a number of famous art works, such as this example below.


Normally there have to be two bodies in the image, so that one can see that it is in fact a swap, but obviously in the case of Rowan Atkinson, his face is so well known that the second body is not needed,

One might assume the same rule applies when dealing with well known public figures, such as Donald Trump in this one, but the maker of this image obviously felt safer with the cat in the image as well……………..


Neither of them have pleasant faces… a grumpy looking Trump and a downright nasty looking cat…  Oh well.

Continue reading “Face Swap – Deeply Disturbing Images”

Images To Create Stories With

As you may have noted, I have a great affection for odd and old photographs, mainly those depicting people in some way or other.   I also find old photos of people fascinating.   I look at those old photos and wonder what became of the people in them.   Did their lives go well, or not, were they happy, satisfied or miserable in the way their lives went?  I suspect that most of us have much the same reaction to looking at photos of people who are long dead.

Curiously I discovered that Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series has a similar feeling.  He collects old photos of couples he knows nothing about, and creates short stories based on what the photos suggest to him.  Not something I have ever gone so far as to do, though the thought always crosses my mind when looking at such photos.

So I though I would post a small collection of such photos that speak to me, in the hope that they might spark off some sort of creative surge in you guys.

So here we go, some random, but in one way or another, intriguing photos of people who are probably long dead.


This next one is really rather odd…    but then, who isn’t?



Continue reading “Images To Create Stories With”

More Odd Images For Teachers

Here are some more photos I have found that I felt would be useful for language or writing teachers.   If you look at the following images, each and everyone of them should spark off ideas in the fantasy of your students be they kids or adults.

I try and find images that I feel are sufficiently strange or thought provoking so that they are guaranteed to make anyone looking at them stop, think and make up a story about how the situation captured in the photos came about.

For instance, look at this one and stop and consider what it is you are looking at.   Why is he there, getting something out of the wall, putting something into the wall…?  What is the backstory behind his being there in that strange and empty place?   What country?  When? and so on. man staircase

As you can see, an image such as this can lead to endless questions, and thus, if handled correctly, can generate an almost endless stream of ideas.

Or what to think of this one?

head in hole

What on earth is that guy doing?   It seems to me that there are almost endless possibilities in this image.  Why has he apparently dug a small hole in an apparently perfectly good road surface?  I can imagine that it should be possible to write a short story based on this image, one that probably gives away the reason for the man poking his head into that small hole in the very last sentence of the story?

Continue reading “More Odd Images For Teachers”

Bill Yates – Images Of 1973 Tampa

A few days ago I came across an article in an English newspaper all about an American photographer who had just discovered a box full of negatives of photos he had taken in Tampa Florida in 1973, and never actually looked at in all the following years.

Bill Yates is the photographer and this set of images of a roller skating rink that he visited in 1973 looking for subjects to photograph while he was studying to become a professional photographer powerfully document how life was back in 1973 for a lot of people in the USA, and Europe too.



Apparently he went out one evening looking for subjects to photograph and came across the Sweetheart Skating Rink by pure chance, went in and proceeded to take a series of photos, most of which in themselves and at that time, were not of any special interest, and he only saw them as a technical exercise in taking photos of people.  However, looking at them in 2016 they have a very different function – they have become a fascinating window into a sort of world that may still exist, but will look very different in so many ways.

For example, look at these images and tell me what it shows that would be totally impossible in the Western World today……

smoking kids smoking kids02

smoking again

See what I mean?

Continue reading “Bill Yates – Images Of 1973 Tampa”

Curious And Odd Images

Once again I have made a small collection of images that I think could be useful as idea generators, pictures that kids could easily use to set their fantasy off in order to write entertaining and quirky stories.  And of course, not only kids, all sorts and ages of us could use one or more of these images to be the start point of a story.Early-view-of-Queen-Street-Brisbane-Queensland-ca.-1864

This is a photo of what Brisbane used to look like, which is not really important.  The reason I chose this image is that it shows a town that was very much a frontier town, farm animals wandering around the street, a mud street you may note…  So it seemed to me that there must be dozens of stories lurking in this straight-forward looking photo…

Go for it, and let me know what you (or your students) make of it please.

KKK Ferris

This is plain weird….  Apparently it is a photo of a gang of KKK idiots on a group outing….  What fun they all seem to be having – or at least if they were honest (and brave enough) to show their faces it might be possible to see how they are all laughing and having a great time on that Ferris Wheel…  Anyhow, politics and decency to one side for a minute, this is an epically odd image seems to me, and once again, surely any of you could find a story in it?


Apparently this is a photo of an abandoned Lunatic Asylum, has to be a story there I feel….

Continue reading “Curious And Odd Images”