Narrative assignment looming – thoughts while developing ideas….
Browsing the shelves of Waterstones' a few days back, debating whether to add a tenner to the twenty quid voucher in my pocket – the debate is between Vivian Maier and Bill Brandt… then as I review the prices… and mull over the idea that I’ve just re –read Badger and Cotton…. Up pops Michael Freeman’s ‘The Photographers Story’… I need some new reading material and with this serendipitous moment... I buy the Freeman book… the right choice with TAOP assignment 5 looming.
TAOP so far has very much being about the practicalities of seeing with a camera. Story telling has not been within the brief until now. The idea is easy to digest - a photo essay with an overriding theme, in fact, the ideas is too easy and therein lies the problem; pick a subject, go out and shoot and then present a story that you think shows a story. However, what you as photographer may initially be swept away with – this narrative run of images, may, if you’re not careful provide boring for another viewer – this is where the Serendipity of Freemans book comes in…
As Freeman states there is a classic Narrative formula, which lends itself to the photo essay, introductory images, openers, establishment shots climax, closers and coda. The language is appropriate as it works – and has proven itself to work in that a thousand and one various colour supplements have presented themselves and inspired their readers over most of the Sundays of the latter half of the twentieth century.
I have 2 or 3 possible stories to run for this assignment, and I haven’t quite settled on which one will win through yet… we shall see. I have chosen both stories to take me out of my comfort zone – they are environments and people that I do not normally interact with during my usual routines. The choices for story I have made have made for exciting prospects to photograph but I know that I must in still some discipline and planning into the images I collect - both planned and candid - to provide the narrative sequence for the story. There is a potential to be washed away with image collecting and end up reviewing a belt of images which provide no sequence of events. A further issue is to what extent I forego the individually dramatic illustrative photograph in pursuit of the story – I will find out as I shoot both themes.