Wk 9 – Narrative

Week 9: Narrative
Posted on: Wednesday, 4 November 2015 15:00:00 o’clock EST
Hi all,

Please find a summary of today’s class below!

You can view the presentation here: https://www.zeetings.com/lachlanpayne/9771-0001


Nationality: American

Born: March 20, 1940

Died: May 25, 2015 (aged 75)

Profile: Documentary and portrait photographer whose images were published in LIFE, New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.

Known for: Images documenting the plight of the dispossessed, such as psychiatric patients and street prostitutes.

Quote: “I think photography is closest to writing, not painting, because you are using this machine to convey an idea.”


What is narrative photography?

Narrative photography is telling a story with pictures.

It is also referred to as storytelling photography or visual storytelling, and often takes the form of a photo essay.

“Photography has become the universal language understood by people everywhere.”

— Martin W. Sandler, Photography: An Illustrated History

What is a photo essay?

A photo essay is a series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer.

Photo essays can be narrative or thematic, and should be able to stand alone, without a written article, and make logical sense to the viewer.

What is the story you want to tell?

When developing a visual story the most important thing to ask is “What is the story you really want to tell?”

To help answer that question, consider the following:

What is the issue?
What will be the key events or moments?
Who are the characters?
What is the context?
How do I tell a story with images?

You can tell a story with one image, or with a series of images.

The types of image you should include in a narrative series are:

Establishing shots
Wide shots
Detail shots
Process/action shots
Closing images
For every image, the photographer should ask themselves “How does this image propel the narrative?”


First, let’s try some brainstorming!

Come up with as many ideas for a visual story as you can.

For one of those ideas, make a list of the images you could shoot.

Next, grab your camera, head out and capture a series of images that tells a story.

Your story can be real or fictional.

Return to class and share your amazing results!


Post your summary of today’s lesson, along with your images, results and thoughts to your blog.

Post your Assessment 2 Work in Progress to your blog this week!

Remember that your commitment to your weekly blog entries forms part of your assessment grades…



MARY ELLEN MARK http://www.maryellenmark.com/

In Memoriam: Mary Ellen Mark (1940 – 2015) http://time.com/3896572/mary-ellen-mark-dies-at-75/

Mary Ellen Mark’s legendary photographs http://www.theguardian.com/culture/gallery/2015/may/26/mary-ellen-mark-legendary-photographs-in-pictures

Mary Ellen Mark obituary http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/may/27/mary-ellen-mark

Mary Ellen Mark’s Greatest Photographs http://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/7458/mary-ellen-marks-greatest-photographs


Shooting a Photo Essay in 60 Minutes http://www.lynda.com/Photography-Lighting-tutorials/Shooting-Photo-Essay-60-Minutes/170283-2.html

Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture http://www.lynda.com/Photography-Photo-Assignments-tutorials/Narrative-Portraiture-Foundations-of-Portraiture/73663-2.html

Narrative http://www.lynda.com/Photoshop-tutorials/Narrative/80299/95991-4.html

Visual Storytelling https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/visual-storytelling/

The Art of Storytelling: Documentary Photography http://masteringphoto.com/the-art-of-storytelling/

Photography and narrative: What is involved in telling a story? https://www.david-campbell.org/2010/11/18/photography-and-narrative/

10 IDEAS FOR CREATIVE PHOTO ESSAYS http://improvephotography.com/30816/10-ideas-creative-photo-essays/

5 types of photos that make for strong photo essays http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/visuals/171050/5-types-of-photos-that-make-for-strong-photo-essays-audio-slideshows/

5 Photo Essay Tips http://digital-photography-school.com/5-photo-essay-tips/

THE PHOTO ESSAY: GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT http://thedigitaltrekker.com/2010/05/the-photo-essay-give-it-your-best-shot/

Creating a Photo Essay http://www.collectivelens.com/blog/creating-photo-essay

World Press Photo http://www.worldpressphoto.org/collection/contests

Narrative Photography http://lenscratch.com/narrative-photography/


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