American Roots Photography | Story Telling

Story Telling

March 14, 2014  •  3 Comments

8b29516v8b29516v As I have pursued photography and improved my skills the question that I have frequently asked myself is "what type of photography do I like to do?". Many "wise" individuals advise specialization to be able to hone your skills. But I could never decide...I do like landscapes, but I also like macro and portraits. And I find street photography intriguing. As some of you know, in the past at the beginning of the year I would choose a generalized photo focus for the year sometimes even maintaining the focus through mid-year ;). This year I have struggled. But in the back of my mind I think I always knew what is most important - story telling. I want to be a story telling photographer. Several image related events have recently brought that realization to my consciousness. This will be a year when I attempt to get better at story telling.

This Dorothea Lange iconic image is my all time favorite picture, primarily due to the story revealed to me. Of course, I realize much of the story is supplied by my own understandings and experiences but I challenge anyone to gaze up this image and not see a story. Recently, I photographed some local school children being assisted in skiing by the organization NEHSA (New England Handicapped Sports Association). I made some nice shots of the students skiing, but for me the most "telling" shots were the interactions between the students and the support staff from the school. An example is included here. Maybe others don't see a story but I do.

NEHSA Ludlow 0332ANEHSA Ludlow 0332ANEHSA at Okemo Mt. - Ludlow Students

In January, just in time for my story telling journey, a new iPad app called Storehouse waslaunched aimed at visual story telling. We can not all be Dorothea Lange and have one image masterpiece stories. Sometimes we need multiple images and some text to tell our story. Here is a link to my story of the day photographing the school children on the ski mountain - Human Spirit Trumphs.  

Note: The Dorothea Lange photo is in the public domain.




Patti Barksdale(non-registered)
The saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," is so true. As we gaze upon an image we are each affected in unique ways depending on our life experiences, our personalities, and life circumstances at that particular time. I love that you at this stage of your life are capturing so many special moments in time. Before I read the above, the picture that stood out to me was this one of a young. unsure girl being reached out to by a loving, confident, caring young woman. All from a picture. The excitement of trying a new adventure, the new experience, the exhilaration of having achieved and having had the experience, the reward of having given of yourself to another so they could have the joy of your experiences. And always snow...pure, refreshing fun! I love seeing what you are seeing through your photographs. Consequently, I have read today about the Migrant Mother photo, very interesting!
Edith Sundby(non-registered)
Dorothea Lange just took a picture. Nothing fancy or technically astute about her black and white image. The story is in the woman's eyes, begging for a picture to be taken to tell it. And Dorothea Lange was there with her camera. In researching genealogy I have come across a single face where the eyes rivet and draw me in, and force me to pay attention ... as if the soul of the person is communicating to me their story, their life. It is as if they want me to know them and resurrect their memory, their life. The story is told in the eyes. And nothing is more capable of capturing the mystery of the soul - and a life - than a photograph taken at the right instant.
Ann Littlefield Coleman(non-registered)
David, you are our eyes to what otherwise would be unknown to most of us. Any story you tell we know the feelings are there to give it purpose. Just keep sending them, no matter what the subject. I still say a thank you for the beautiful pictures you sent to help Edie reach her goal of cure. May I make a suggestion you make your album of pictures available to some health resources that could tap into them for sending to patients. Far fetched I know, but can you imagine when a patient has a hard problem overcoming the odds, a picture of "get well" could go out by computer to give the first step to healing.
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