Telling Stories



This week whilst working on a new session for a school activity, I have been exploring the idea of the photo story or essay. I went back into the archives for a set of images I shot for an assignment on a photography course I was completing.

Photo essays can help us organise how we shoot a set of images and enable us to tell a story with them.

We might or might not, add text with labels or descriptions.

It can be a really great way of organising your photos after a holiday or a day out.

But you do have to have decided to shoot in this way beforehand. Otherwise your images may not hang together as a set - you need to tune your eyes to the possibilities.

It can also help us to capture the memories of the experience in a more wholehearted way - the sights, smells, emotions - more than just who and where and when.

On a family holiday a few years ago, during which I had planned to complete the assignment, we visited Alcatraz. What an atmospheric place! And the light on that day we went was amazing! I had found my subject and a theme - light and darkness. Themes can help us identify afterwards what photos to include. I was struck by the amazing light but also the relative darkness of the place , both physically and psychologically. I chose not to include any people in any of the final photos as this added to the feel of isolation we experienced.

Click on the image below to view a slideshow of my story, which also includes some of the original text from the assignment. The quotes were taken mostly from first hand accounts by both prisoners and staff and were part of the audio tour.


So, next time you plan a day out or are on holiday and want to capture more than just a random set of images - think about the story you could tell using the photos you could take. Prepare to look for the little details as well as just recording what happens to add the 'flavour' of the day/holiday/trip.

Create your own stories and enjoy creating amazing photos to preserve your memories! (And definitely visit Alcatraz if you head to California!)


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All images © Sarah Holmes 2020 No reproduction without prior permission.