TAOP: Part 5 – Narrative and Illustration: Introduction

The aim of this part of the course is to use a set of pictures, or a single picture, to tell a story.

Putting the subject first

This project looks at what can be done with photography – not just the skills involved.  While much attention is given to graphic content by many photographers, the larger part of photography is directed toward its subject.  e.g. a news photograph stands or falls on how successfully it informs us about a person or event – rather than mastery of photographic techniques; even if they do improve the image.

The text asks me to look for examples of the extremes – subject versus treatment.  The images below, I feel, illustrate this successfully.

The first shows the use of composition and colour to make an attractive image – where as the subject shown (it appears to be cable management in a rack of servers in a data centre, to me) is inconsequential:


The second image is all about the subject in a news article – illustrating a key ‘actor’ to the new article in a less-than-remarkable manner:

‘Ben Bernanke’ (right-hand-side illustration; hopefully the BBC News article stays in place!)

Context, however, is key; next to a story in a computer/industry magazine of website the first image would become more of a balance between technique and subject.

Following study of techniques, the next stage is to put photography to specific use – to tell a story.  Instead of choosing things to photograph on the grounds they are attractive, the aim is to start with the subject – consider what is important or interesting about it – and let this suggest the treatment.

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