Street Photography: Telling A Story

Why Is A Story Important?

Sharing stories is something that separates us from all other intelligent species. Since the advent of photography, documenting a situation allowed events to be shown to someone who was not present at the time.

As an emotionally driven species, stories help up to relate, understand or simply acknowledge other peoples perspectives.

It is therefore important to ensure the situation is documented in a way that reflects the nature of the event.

Contrasts Between Images With And Without a Story

To illustrate my point, I have provided an example of two images. One image shows a story. The other does not.

Above we have an image named “No Story”. This image shows a front door, Though it fits the theme of my style of photography, it does not convey a story, You could say it shows a level of symmetry – which is the reason I took the shot – but it does not lead the imagination.

The image named “Story” however appears very compelling. First of all, what is everyone doing? What signs are they holding up? Why does the woman in the centre look so sad? Is the Union Jack flag relevant or symbolic of the event? What are they all looking at?

Before you realise, you’ve been looking at the image for well over a minute.

In a world of social media and endless streams of photographs on applications such as Instagram, a minute is a significant amount of time to stop scrolling for.

The iintrigue of the story is what compels me to continue this Art. It is what inspires me to share my knowledge. And it is what motivates me to teach others – so that you might enjoy the process as much as I do.

Documenting A Story

Take a protest for example. I tend to surround myself with the crowd. I become part of the body of people – to the extent they forget that I am there. This allows me free reign to manoeuvre to in different directions to capture different perspectives.

Whilst everyone is looking forwards, heading in the direction of the protest, I will look back and to the side. I can see the faces, expressions and emotions.

Turn Around

Turn Around

Although the main event is happening right in front of you, it will be the people behind you, their expression, their emotion that will truly tell the story.

For context, the people in the photograph above are all looking at a large screen.

Turn around, capture the story.

Helpful Tips

  • If everyone is looking forwards, turn around
  • Ask yourself, what is happening in this moment
  • if you can, surround yourself with the event – it makes for an exciting photographing session
  • If in doubt, capture each moment as it develops.
  • Unsure if you have a good image? Remember editing can make all the difference.

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