Springboarding – Using a Picture to Create a piece of Writing

A friend of mine on Facebook lives in Makati, near Manila in the Philippines. He is a film actor, photographer and blogger in his own right. He was with another photographer recently on their way to the 37th Flores De Mayo fashion show at MOA when he saw this Street Man, and asked his friend to call him over. He gave him some money and asked if he could take a snap of him. The man agreed and is “posing” but in the couple of seconds he got, he was able to snap three shots and says that “you can see a lot of his life’s story in his eyes.”

Here is one of the photos he took.

Courtesy and permission given by Don Gordon Bell ©

He is a street man of the Philippines. His story is etched in his eyes. Sometimes, your tutor may give you some form of writing to do, as classroom practice, in order to get those writing skills honed for the second part of the two exams you will have to sit at GCSE. Depending on which course you are on and who runs it, the task will differ, but let’s just say, for a moment, that it goes something like this: Using this image, create a piece of original writing that tells us something about life and how hard it can be.

Now, how would you go about writing an answer to that one?

The first thing to do is mentally, in your imagination and sight, split the picture up into 4 equal sections [top left = 1, top right = 2, bottom left = 3 and bottom right = 4]. Then, when that is done, begin making notes on each section, in detail. With four headings, one for each section, you then begin to have some ideas.

Not sure what I mean? This is what I see.


Screenshot 2016-05-10 16.13.53

Now, with these things in mind, I can begin creating something that is unique, creative and original bringing in all of these ideas about the man, the way he looks, the way he acts [made up – why does Rutger Hauer as a blind wanderer with a stick come to mind?] the way he has a reaction with the people he meets. All of these are possible, but what do I choose to do?

Note: The truly unique ones get the best marks!

There are several choices. You could create something that is from his point of view. “I am a street man of Makati” etc, using all of the above and some more ideas as they come, writing it in paragraphs accurately brought together by discourse markers so that it makes perfect sense. Or you could write it like you are a reporter [almost] like you are reporting on street life in Makati being harsh and unpredictable and how one has to be tough to survive. Or, you could even write something that is almost poetic, or descriptive, or something else I have not even considered. So long as it does what the task says, you will get the points.

This, I am afraid, is where the 3 grade or higher will be achieved [A* – B in old money].

Go on, have a go at this for your own practice. If you come up with a good one, let me know via the Facebook page.