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Opinion – Story Telling

Lately for me there has been a rather big shift of focus as to my approach on projects and personal improvement as a photographer. The aspect of story telling, while always being a vital aspect, have not always played a cognizant role. Initially when I started to push myself to grow as a photographer it was incredibly important to be able to not only refine my technique but to always chase after that one image that stood out within all the rest. Sometimes I would end up going through hundreds of shots just to pick two or three images that best represented my idea or goal.

While over time I don’t think the aspect of going through hundreds of images to find the best ones has changed much aside from slowly getting to a rate with more keepers and less wasted shots the focus has definitely changed from getting an image or two that best stand out to focusing on photographing a subject in the interest of telling a story or portraying a theme. What this has meant is less importance set on the big shots and a shift towards covering the bases and elements needed to give body to the narrative.

For better or worse it still means doing one’s best to get shots that are unique or creative and best capture the subject or moment. However it has also meant discarding images that may be technically impressive or unique but that don’t fit the overall theme or narrative of that story. Beyond that at times it has also come to mean an inclusion of shots I personally would otherwise not find interesting as a shot to stand on its own. Ultimately it is the sum of the images that creates the story one wishes to share. This of course includes setting up the scene and creating atmosphere. Not only covering the bigger picture but also focusing on the details, perhaps images that don’t really have too much standing power on their own, when put together can make elements of the narrative that much more interesting.

Story telling has become a big interest for me lately. It is something that will take a lot of practice, a lot of mistakes and a lot of hard work to refine but I’ve come to really enjoy the works of photographers more so for their ability to visually tell a story than for their skill in capturing a handful of images that are visually strong. That aside, the big thing is putting those two parts together. I have nonetheless respect for people in either strength but for me at this point the joy and challenge is being able to create a story whether it is of the culture and situations I encounter or capturing the poetic chapter of a beautiful couple on their big day.

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