I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “story” lately. In addition to photographer and artist, I call myself a visual storyteller so I suppose it's not surprising that I’ve put some thought into it.
I recall when I was in my twenties, noticing that the bulk of the conversations my then middle aged father and his friends shared centred around story telling. In fact I remember feeling bored by it. “Did I tell you about….” my father would start. I would gently smile in hopes of taking the sting out of my response “Yes, you shared that one with me already.” Is that all they do I wondered? Swap and re-tell old stories? Ugh, isn't there more to life?
Now I am the middle aged storyteller and it's funny that as I have aged the value of stories has become obvious. Stories are the core of life. They give meaning, provide context and help us to connect.
With vast quantities of visual media bombarding us daily - stories have even greater value than ever. I crave the deeper connection that comes when a story is told alongside an image. Listening to an artist share their experience of creating their work often will greatly deepen my affection for the work. Does this happen to you? I find I can even forge a connection to a subject I normally have no interest in - say for example tennis (no offence to tennis enthusiasts). If I happen to watch tv coverage of a tennis player's life everything changes. Knowing the “story” - the athlete’s hopes, dreams, struggles and triumphs - connects me to them and suddenly I am engaged in watching a game I previously had no interest in.
But I call myself a visual storyteller but what story am I telling? Of course each image has it’s own creation story - an account of the experience or moment, but I have started to notice that most of my images are part of a larger narrative. Looking at my work they make a collective statement:
all natural landscapes contain a beauty that we need
The ones we find close by us as well as in more remote places. As a photographer, artist and visual storyteller, I hope my images will remind others to seek this beauty, help them to find it and encourage them to preserve and protect it.
In truth, the image is NOT what is important at all. The image is the icing on the cake - but without the cake there would be no reason for it.
INSPIRATION THIS WEEK:
Trey is the consummate storyteller. His daily (so impressive) blog posts always include a new image from his travels with a bit of the story behind them. You can find him online at your preferred social media stream or at the hub Stuck In Customs
Karen has a wonderfully unique way of posting. Her beautiful images are paired with a creative bit of prose. She sets the stage and then lets you in on the dialogue the characters of the image are having. Sounds like no big deal… but here is the magic part… her images are mostly of landscapes. I follow Karen on google+ but you can also visit her blog.
Gage describes himself as a "Gentleman explorer. World Traveller. Life photographer." Having met him and followed his work ever since, I have to agree - he is all of those plus a man with an incredible personal story of resilience. His latest postings on instagram @eyeamgage not only contain his beautiful images but also inspiring and thoughtful words.
Maptia - “is a beautiful way to tell stories about places” They ask the question "Do you believe stories can change the world?" If your answer is yes... then you are in the right place. http://maptia.com
Exposure - If you haven’t visited https://exposure.co yet then don’t wait any longer. "Exposure is a tool to create beautiful photo narratives. It’s also a community of passionate photographers and storytellers. Exposure is a great place to tell your photo stories.” This is the place where visual storytelling lives. My first story is here.
This artist and her hyper realistic works of art in soft pastel are incredible. Their photo-like quality caught my attention but it was the story of what inspired her to create them made me love them.