Week 4: Flash of Inspiration

Posted by
The Learning team at the Roald Dahl Museum
Posted on
11:00am, 13th August
Make Stories Like Roald Dahl - week 4

Welcome to week 4 of our Make Stories Like Roald Dahl summer challenge. This week you will capture a special moment and save it for later inspiration.

For Roald Dahl, the summer holidays were the most magical time of the year. He would travel to Norway with his family, and spend weeks sunbathing, fishing and exploring the fjords by boat. When he was 13 or 14 years old, he created a scrapbook of his holiday. Amongst the maps and postcards were treasured photographs of some of these wonderful moments and places.

Roald Dahl’s love of photography began when he was at Repton School. Encouraged by one of his teachers, Roald Dahl even held an exhibition of his pictures. He took ordinary photos of his friends and school, as well as more unusual ones like the inside of a grass stem. Photographs were made using glass plates at that time. Roald Dahl only carried six plates at once, so he had to think very, very carefully about what he was going to photograph and how before he took the shot!

After school, Roald Dahl travelled around the world. From a Public Schools’ Explorers Society expedition to Newfoundland in Canada, to working in Dar es Salaam in Africa, and on to the Middle East and Greece in the Second World War, Roald Dahl always carried his camera ready to take pictures. He even won prizes for some of his images.

When Roald Dahl moved to the village of Great Missenden, he filled his Writing Hut with photographs of his family and friends, his garden and places he travelled to. He sat writing surrounded by memories every single day. But the photos were more than just reminders; they were also inspiration and ideas for stories, settings and characters.

Framing an image of an apple tree

Family challenge: frame your own photograph

1. Make yourself a viewfinder frame. This could be as simple as gluing lolly sticks together or cutting a rectangle out of a piece of paper, but you could decorate it if you would like to.

2. Explore your house or garden with your frame and a camera. Explore until something catches your eye. This will be the subject of your picture.

3. Use your viewfinder frame to choose the best way to take your picture. Look through it at your subject and practice until you find the perfect shot.

4. Take a photograph of your subject!

5. Keep exploring, using your frame and taking pictures. You might even want to make a scrapbook or album to collect them in.

Holding a frame up to a subject

Top tips for a phizz-whizzing photo

  • Always keep your camera handy, you never know when you will want to take a photograph.
  • Look up, down or behind you to find something special or interesting! You could choose a person, object or place. It might even be something you walk past every day.
  • Once you’ve chosen something to photograph, practise with your viewfinder frame first. Remember, everything in the frame will be in your picture (even sneaky fingertips).
  • Experiment. Try moving closer, moving around or changing the angle you take your photo from to discover what works best.
  • Hold your camera nice and steady…

You should now have a picture to keep. Does it give you an idea for a story? Write it, draw it, act it out or just tell us about it using #MakeStoriesLikeRoaldDahl.

You can find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Find out more

With Rachel, our Collections Manager and Archivist

Find out more about the blog series

Share your creations with us

See some of Roald Dahl's photos