The Photo Story

Image © Jordan Matter

Photo stories, in my opinion, can be thought of in a few different ways. One such method is what I call a “photo essay” where the photographer has followed a subject and told a story about the subject in perhaps at least 10 photos, each having a short caption about what is happening with the subject in that particular photograph.

A different kind of photograph, and my reason for this post, is that of a group of themed photographs that collectively tell a shared story. I recently read about portrait photographer Jordan Matter via Jezebel. His series, Dancers Among Us, is quite inspiring. The photographs are really lovely and feature dancers from three NYC dance companies twirling, leaping and, well, dancing, throughout the streets of NYC. A truly fantastic idea for a photo series.

Certainly, just one photo from either of these types of photo stories could stand alone and still tell a story. The story is simply stronger as a whole because it can expand on a theme, idea or just give a broader picture of the subject.

I find this to be somewhere more difficult in fashion photographer. Ideally, every photograph should be trying to say something, to tell a story. In a fashion editorial, although still about the clothes, you can definitely tell a story with the photos. It becomes difficult however, to find a story in fashion photographs where you have a simple studio setting, plain black, gray or white backdrop with the model and the clothes the only focus. Perhaps this is the challenge? To find the story here. I would say that’s where the styling becomes increasingly important, because that is what will tie the photos together and portray the look, style and theme. And in these, the story really IS all about the clothes.

-B

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About Brandie

I'm a freelance photographer based in Paris.
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