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The cover image for the March 2021 issue of Stone Soup is incredibly striking. Aiyla Syed’s photograph "Sensation" (pictured above) perfectly captures a moment that feels familiar and playful in a visually compelling way.

FRANCE. Paris. Place de l'Europe. Gare Saint Lazare. 1932.

The composition of the photograph is wonderful. While the main attention in the foreground is Aiyla’s brother jumping in a puddle, the line of the road in the background and the horizon line provide a pleasing frame for the action. And the shadow provides a doubling of the subject that gives the image a really nice sense of symmetry. For me, this photo reminds me of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous 1932 photograph of a different puddle jumper (pictured right).

In "Sensation," there is also an interesting tension between the stillness of the surroundings and the sudden movement of the splash that Aiyla’s brother is making. What sounds do you think were happening as Aiyla was taking this photo? In addition to being an interesting piece of art, this photograph could be an excellent starting-off point for a story or a poem.

The Activity

For a writing or art activity, try to capture a moment where a silence or sense of peace is suddenly broken. You can do this with words or through a visual medium. What does the scene look like while it’s quiet? And what is it that suddenly disrupts this peacefulness? Maybe it’s a happy disruption, like a sudden laugh, or maybe it’s more serious, like an alarm. In any case, explore the sensation that occurs when the disturbance takes place.

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