Your photo must tell a story…

I often get emails from readers asking how to take photos like such and such artist, or how does ABC photographer get his subjects to be just in the right place etc.

Well, to answer the 2nd question first…there is no quick route to getting your subject(s) to be in the right place, right at the time when you press the shutter, period. If you could ask Cartier-Bresson, I’m sure he would say the same. You just have to BE there at the right time, the right place, the right moment. And the only way I know and use to get that, is to position myself in any likely spot where I know for certain that something will happen…not immediately, not in a few minutes, maybe not even in an hour or more…but happen it will, and when it does, I’m there to press the shutter!

And of course, it also means taking many shots…if you’re lucky, you’ll get one, maybe two good ones out of the bunch. No short cut.

Second, we all want to mimic the great photographers and artists, nothing wrong with that. But in my mind, isn’t being an artist, because that’s what we photographers all are, the art of being individual? If I go to Yosemite and take several shots like Ansel Adams used to take, then what makes me different to him? Surely, as an artist, I want to create something unique that nobody else has created. I don’t want people to look at my work and say..”Hey, you know what? That looks exactly like those shots of Ansel Adams I looked at the other day…”. Unless of course, you really do want to take shots that look exactly like his….to that I’d say fine…each to his/her least it gets people using the photographic medium.

My main point of this article is that whatever shots we take, they must….absolutely must, must , must tell a story. Many a time I’ve been to galleries and stood behind people looking at some photographs, and you hear them saying to each other that what is the photographer trying to say here, what point is his photo making…?

As an easy example, take a look at the photo below that I cut out of a newspaper…it’s a typical beach scene, with people walking around, kicking sand, or whatever we all do at the beach!

Picture 754

But look carefully and if you have an artist’s mind, you will see each and every person in that shot telling a story….sure, the whole photo tells a story, but so do the little parts of it that make up the whole.

To illustrate that, I chopped that shot up into its little segments, and put the whole lot together in a different order, into my journal, shown below…it’s kinda difficult to show what I mean, but as I was cutting and pasting the bits of the original photo into my journal, each bit, to me, was a story in its own way….the woman picking up something in the sand, the horse rider, some people far away in the distance etc.

Picture 755

And even pasted together in an entirely different order, the individual pieces each still seem to tell a story….do you see that?

That’s what I mean….I always try to make sure there are elements in my shots that tell stories, either individually or together.







About filmcamera999

ME & MY PASSION! ok, you probably looked at the length of this "about me" page and thought, god, what's wrong with this guy!....does he have to start telling us his life story or something!!? well, youve come here now anyways, so why not hear what im like as a person, eh? ive been using film cameras for well over 30 first one being the family yashicamat twin lens! over the years, ive both bought sold and collected film cameras...too many to tell the truth! in fact, ive been buying and selling cameras well before the internet came on the scene, so anything you purchase from me is backed by my self-styled moneyback promise.....if you dont like what youve bought, send it back within 14 days and you get all your money arguments!! WHERE I STAND ON THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION! yes, i do use digital as well, but only as a ready-reckoner...i try and take most shots with my simple 2megapixel digicam....if the shot looks good, i pull out my film camera and shoot! i most defintely do not believe in digital manipulation of photographs....that in my eyes is not photography...its cheating! WHERE I USED TO LIVE, WHERE I AM NOW & WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO! i used to live in Ontario, Canada, but moved back to the UK a little while ago (its a long story..!)...but now i'm living in the one place i always wanted to be...Vancouver, BC..the next best thing to paradise on earth! as i work as a freelance writer as well as other things, i often find hat my work takes me to europe for short spells, so i get to travel a lot...not a blessing, as i just hate long flights! im a qualified Quality Assurance guy (you know...ISO 9000, auditing, documentation etc) ....99% of my skill-set is transferable so i can handle any admin or documentation-related roles....see you in BC! otherwise, i specialise in ISO 9000 auditing and documentation. my dream? to have my own thriving camera shop in Vancouver BC, whilst living in the mountains somewhere.....the best of both worlds!
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2 Responses to Your photo must tell a story…

  1. reocochran says:

    Wow! Powerful post today. The message to tell a story is illustrated by a newspaper photo which you show is both artistic and carrying tales of the people within. Nicely written.

    • ..hey, robin!
      thank you for that gracious compliment, ma’am!
      that was the only way i could think of to pass my message on…i hope readers got the point i was making…just as you have.
      how is it today where you are, robin? busy getting things done before the weekend is over?

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