Searching For The Chimney Sweeps


Five Card Story: Searching for the Chimney Sweeps

a Five Card Flickr story created by Emily Strong


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by spacedlawyer

They went searching. Searching. Searching for the chimney sweeps. But when they reached the address they had been given, all they found was an empty field and a sign with a phone number. The phone number was not in service.

So they walked. They walked across the field, and into the woods, still searching. They had not given up hope.

And indeed, there were signs that gave them hope. There were fireworks visible at night. Fireworks that coated the land in soot and sulfur. Fireworks that resembled sparks flying out of a fireplace. Would not the chimney sweeps have chosen this very sign. And there was a frog. A tiny, green frog. The frog hopped along the forest floor and they followed it. It led them. It led them out of the trees. And they were sure that it would bring them to the chimney sweeps.

But it did not. It brought them to a cat.

The cat laughed. “Chimney sweeps don’t exist anymore.”


It took me many tries to find a combination of photos that spoke to me. I think the problem was that though I started out with an interesting photo each time, none of the successive selections had any visual connection to them. I tried to make up stories to fit the final five, but each one felt false.

And then I got the chimney sweep picture. On its own, it was intriguing. It raised questions. Why was the sign in the middle of the field? How long had it been there? Why chimney sweeps? Where did that phone number go to? Did it still work?

By beginning with questions, I was then able to select photos that offered answers or raised new questions for each successive step. Although this had begun as a slightly frustrating and uninspiring exercise, it ended up being a lot of fun.

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