Mastering the Art of Photography Storytelling

One single frame can be enough to tell an intriguing story. With a photographer’s perspective you will be asking yourself; ‘is this just a simple object?’ such as the back of a seat, ‘or is this an amazing opportunity for a photograph?’

If we compare photography storytelling with movies where you have thousands of frames to tell a story,it seems to be a rather challenging task to meet the same standards or to achieve a similar breadth of detail. However, one single frame can be an amazing opportunity to display a memorable experience for viewers that will have plenty of impact. So how can you tell a story in only one single shot? What should it be about? And to whom does it belong?

Beautiful doesn’t mean there is a story.

A photograph that presents a beautiful piece of nature can invoke appealing, pleasant responses in us, but we won’t necessarily carry those feelings for long. We won’t feel a need to revisit them. We go back to a photograph if we can feel a deeper connection and if we can interact with it.

If a photograph does evoke and trigger our emotions, our imagination, our experiences, we will hold that image in our hearts for a long time. A photograph without a story can’t create deeper connections or recognition, and can’t make social changes or compel people to act.

To whom does the story belong?

Many people say that the picture reflects a photographer’s personal story. Since we as humans tend to be very curious about other people truths, we do tend to find a connection between a photograph and the photographer;in a way we uncover their personal truth on it.

Although it’s true that the story belongs to the photographer, the questions remain: can we really see it upon the media in front of us? And do we see our own story instead, one that belongs exclusively to us? The stories we always go back to are not the stories which have been told to us, but the stories that became ours. However, not every story can become ours, nor should that be our expectation. Be aware that people want to connect with what they see; they seek belonging, and they seek to share a truth.

The psychology behind impact

There are many biological and psychological reasons that explain why we appreciate art. Looking at a photograph organically triggers memory, emotions like pleasure or fear, and processes that allow people to attribute meaning to new information that they absorb.

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We are instinctively drawn to stimuli of emotional importance. Psychological science suggests that we enjoy art since there is no fear of pain or failure and with new technology that allows many to create decent photographs, the real focus of a photographer has become to express, narrate, and interpret a scene as much as their viewers will once capture, underscores this contemporary master in photography in Milan.

Let the audience connect the dots

One single frame has endless possibilities and potential number of stories as interpreted by the viewer. Telling the story is not always that easy if you are portraying one single person.  Context in that case plays a very important role and creates the atmosphere needed for triggering questions that add meaning to it. Displaying one single person on a photograph can very often influence a lack of a story. Without involving real context, that single person portrait won’t trigger our imagination, the audience won’t be creating assumptions about the story behind the scene, or develop their own personal story. Open stories are distinguished from closed stories through these assumptions, the suggestiveness of the image without giving too much away pulls the viewer in and lets them develop further ideas and possibilities, this form of storytelling will elicit excited and engaged responses.

Gestures always win.

It’s hard to say how many details on a photograph are not too many. If that subjective line is crossed, then the details produce a messy effect and the impression on the audience is weakened. Composition can play an important role here. The perfect formula would be one where you have an object that stands out, another object that interacts with it, and one which is left out which then should engage the viewer and stretch their magination despite it not existing within the image itself.

Gestures are one such ‘object’or component often displayed in photographs, since they naturally draw out a story. People can recongnize them easily. If gestures are displayed trough interactions between two or more persons, the connection while looking at those relationships become even deeper.

Without storytelling, a photograph can have a short and unhappy life. On the other side,the audience can be left out there without any impressions or any possibility to dive deeper inside of themselves.

In that case, there is a huge responsibility, and a huge task that photographer and photograph have to undertake in order to survive in front of our eyes. However, in some eyes, that photo has not yet had a chance to live.

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