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The Power of Storytelling & Photography

Stories, we are introduced to them as babies and they stay with us through all our lives. Stories are everywhere, and very much a part of our everyday. From the books, newspapers and blogs we read, the songs we listen to; each tell their own story. TV programmes we watch tell stories. Getting home from work and telling our family the story of our day. Stories we sit and read to our children. Stories of the past, fictional stories, factual stories. Old wives tales, poems. We use paintings, photography and sculptures to tell stories. Stories that pass from generation to generation. Stories about romance, horror, real life experiences, science, history; the list is endless.

There are big stories and little stories. A two hour film or twenty minute documentary. We read them, we listen to them, we watch them. We find comfort in them and sometimes we can relate to them. They fill us with a mix of emotions. Some inspire us, some raise our awareness of a particular area we are not so informed of. Some make us smile, some laugh. Some make us cry. Little stories are just as important as the big ones. We don't measure a story by its length, but by its content.

Storytelling with Photographs

When we take a photograph, we are creating a record. The information stored on that record is what tells our story. That photograph could be the most beautiful image in the world, but actually the story it tells is just as important.

Ever thought about the way you communicate your stories? Take a moment to look around your home at some of the photographs you have proudly on display. What are the stories behind the photographs? What happened on that day? How were you feeling at the time? What prompted you to take a photograph of that very moment? Maybe it's a photograph someone else took. How did they capture the moment that makes it so special to you?

The photographs we take, proudly display or look back on evoke very personal emotions; they bring focus to our personal life experiences. The moment you press the button on your phone or camera, you have created your very own story.

In his book Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes writes;

''What the photograph reproduces to infinity has only occurred once: the photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially."

Here he talks about how the same photograph can be reproduced (printed) an infinite number of times, but it is the moment that is photographed; the record of that time can never be repeated. Which makes it even more special.

Your story is so important, it will travel from your children to your grandchildren, and their children.

When I'm taking photographs, I'm constantly looking for the most subtle moments between people. The more experience I've gained over the years when photographing means that I've become very tuned in to the most fleeting, but truly beautiful moments.

Just like books and films, photography is such a powerful way to tell your story. When we take photographs, we become visual narrators, using our cameras to communicate narratives that our words may not be able to express. The story we tell though our photographs give context, perspective and insight. Photographs create a sense of place, personality and emotion, and thats what makes them so powerful.

Next time you take a photo, ask yourself - what story am I telling today?

Photographs: Day at the beach, Formby.

Thanks for stopping by,

NP x


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