“Imagine you are being commissioned by a newspaper to tell a story in five to seven images. It can be about anything – ideally something local – but it must have a beginning, middle and end. It can be about a person, a place or a thing. Keep your focus narrow. What matters in this exercise is to make sure each photograph gets to the essence of what the narrative wants to express.
Share the five to seven images of your story, and comment on the stories of your peers – tell them what you see. Did they understand what your story is about?”
My work is entitled Lest We Forget – The Aftermath.
This story is intended to show how quickly we forget and move on with our lives even though we pledge to remember. While the remains and traces of a sunny and commemorative day on Sunday soon turns to cleaning up and removing our memories our thoughts turn to the working week and Christmas around the corner. As I took my photographs the rain started to fall making the poppies and other commemorations look sad and forlorn. The shops started to replace their carefully arranged tributes with their Christmas decorations. Lest We Forget seems a short-lived pledge.
Feedback on my story:
A fellow student posted the following feedback:
There is very much a sense of aftermath for the viewer to appreciate. Very imaginative making of images too. The sequence of beginning to middle is there, yes it’s there. The end is also there. Would a clearer transition be possible, I wonder? Clever linkage is made to commemorative events.
My tutor posted this comment:
I think some of the strength in this series comes from the fact that each image is quite different from the previous – there is little repetition. They are all quite still though and avoid people – intentionally I think, might be interesting to see how/if you could include present day individuals in a series like this too.
General feedback on the task:
A fellow student offered the following advice on building a story:
- Introductory or overall or establishing shot – a wide angle or aerial shot that establishes a place or the story at a glance
- Medium shots – to reflect one or more activities of a person or a group of people
- Close-up shots – detail of something
- Portraiture – environmental shot or head shot of a person or main character of the story or others who are important part of the story
- Interaction – conversation of the people in a scene for a reason or interaction with the main character
- Signature shot – it tells the whole story in a single frame
- Sequence building – a group shots that bridges and ties the frames sequentially to flow the story
- Conclusion – an ending shot that tells either a solution or left us with a question
And my tutor said:
“This is an interesting exercise and so many of you have approached it differently – coming from a photojournalistic and documentary background I’ve always learned this 5 picture story technique from David Hurn and Bill Jay’s conversation “On Being A Photographer” where they discus the component parts of a “Photo essay” and using The Country Doctor by Eugene Smith as an example you can follow it’s 5 component parts…
- An establishing or intro shot
- a person at work or doing shot (face and hands clearly visible)
- a relationship or interaction shot (both faces and expressions visible)
- a detail shot and
- an environmental portrait
There is no such thing as a set of rules obviously – but it’s an interesting discipline to learn from and experiment with. In my experience – it’s the relationship shot which people try to avoid and often have the most difficulty with.”
I found the challenge very interesting and harder than I expected. I do feel that I generally think about and try to ensure individual images contain a clear narrative. However, making sure each image in a series has consistent and appropriate narrative is more difficult. It is important to make sure the running order of the images moves the story to its closing shot. To me the learning points have been that the images need to work as a group and individually in unambiguously telling your story.
I will certainly try this challenge again over the next few weeks. . .