This year I want to focus my photographic attention on creating images that tell stories. Using photography to convey a message is not something that I do well, but I would like to improve, so I gave myself story telling as an area of dedicated focus this year. I wanted to share an example of how the photographer can create images with more or less story telling content from a single context.
Tonight I photographed my children playing with their iPods - I didn’t have a specific idea in mind initially, just wanted simple images of life at home. Here below is a first image:
This image above is pleasant, shows clearly the two children in a home setting and it shows that they are holding their gadgets. However, it falls a bit short on the story telling department for a couple of reasons. First, they are not engaged with their toys - they are posing for the camera, and this makes the image more about the interaction between the children and the viewer than between each child and his or her toy. Also, it’s hard for the viewer to discern a clear message coming from the picture.
This second image, a candid, has more story telling content, as it shows the children interacting with their players, seemingly unaware of the presence of the photographer. The story is about children and their electronic toys - so now we have a theme for the picture, but we still don’t have a story, as there is no message or specific point of view conveyed by the image.
Now we are getting somewhere. The iPods cover their faces and make it impossible for them to connect with the viewer, and they are isolating themselves from the viewer by their widgets. They are also isolating themselves from each other even though they are so close to each other… The photo has a theme, children and electronic toys, but it also has a point of view and a message - a visual story that speaks about the dangers of letting children get caught in the alternate reality of electronic games and other devices.
The subjects are the same, the lighting is the same, but in this case, it is the pose that provides the symbols for story telling.
Category: Photo Sessions