Does Your Image Tell A Story

Posted: February 22, 2017 in Uncategorized
Many times I read photographers that talk about telling a story with an image. I do get that concept and think it’s a good idea, but it is not something that I ever think about when I’m lining up a subject to shoot.
Maybe in macro there are not as many stories to tell in our images.
When I view all my images I don’t see very many stories.
Maybe with other styles of photography it’s easier to find and tell a story within the image.
I wonder when you have an image that tells a story, how many people are really able to see a story or are even looking for a story in the image.
I think photographers tend to look for a story because they have been taught that concept, but I wonder how many non photographers are able to see the story or even look for one.
I guess I really don’t worry about trying to tell a story with my photos, I just hope that the people viewing them find the subject matter and the composition appealing.


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  1. Jennifer Benton says:

    Good words, great image. Thanks again today.

  2. Matthew Ross says:

    In some macro and most landscape, I think the story is often simply, “I found this amazing thing and gave it to you.” The element of story is important, but it requires actors (bugs, people, animals) in the frame.

  3. I think non-photographers are more visual than you are giving them credit. Our world is very visual, and everyone has the experience of seeing both world history and contemporary experience through paintings, drawings, as well as photography. These are stories. Most people who read fiction have a visual imagination; they take the bare bones of an author’s descriptors and help create the scene. It’s a partnership. Think also of book covers; those are designed to solicit response. It might be purely emotional, but many times it is giving a preview and a come-on to the story inside the covers–––someone’s in jeopardy, someone’s in love, etc. I think all this can carry over to photographs that simply exist as photographs. As to how many people do that–––who knows? It comes down the the photograph and the life experience of the viewer. But I think the potential for it is in most viewers.

  4. Richard Grubola says:

    Photography is a visual art. Telling a story is literature.

  5. Weihong Xu says:

    absolutely true!

  6. Mark Council says:

    Every artist is unique and does what they are inspired to do in an effort to give voice to their interpretation of the world. I’ve been a nature and landscape photographer for over 40 years and have participated in numerous group as well as solo shows. The shows where I didn’t include some sort of accompanying essay that further explored the subject in a photo more often than not felt incomplete to me; sharing some words just seems like a natural way to entice a viewer into deepening a connection to it.
    My objective as an artist is to pique viewers’ interest in the subject matter as much as I can without overloading them. While some photos speak for themselves, sometimes it’s nice to further acquaint ones’ self in some way with the subject at hand.
    We are all different. We all have different styles. And that’s a wonderful thing-

  7. I can’t say how happy I am to hear you say this, Mike. I do not know what people mean when they say tell a story. I am so sick of that I could puke. Why can’t we just take a beautiful photo and why can’t people just enjoy that? I am sick to death of people pretending to tell pretentious stories with their photos. Ugh!!!!!

  8. says:

    Two thumbs way up for this post, Mike. Abstracts don’t tell stories. Most art doesn’t tell a story. My macro photos certainly don’t tell any story (and only I appreciate how hard it was to get the shot). I’m either trying to document something as artfully as I can or trying to be completely creative.

  9. Douglas Berg says:

    I think for us macro (or close up) photographers, it is more of creating a mood or connecting with a feeling or emotion rather than telling a story. Just as with abstract art (which I don’t always fully understand) the viewer is attracted by the colors or patterns on the canvas. Maybe that is the “story”.

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