How do you tell a story?

How do you tell a story?

The art of storytelling dates back over 9000 years. Historians know that stories have changed over generations, in different cultures, however, the most important part of storytelling is ensuring that the overall lesson has been shared, or the story becomes ineffective. Stories were initially shared in spoken language, somewhere along history, the story tellers began to document the stories with drawings. Eventually stories began to be documented using written language, but with over 6500 languages in the world, it was difficult to keep the same story. The photograph is the common language in the world.

Photography is used in almost every medium, newspapers, billboards, television, magazines, art galleries, graffiti and many more. The stories a photo tells will evoke emotions, inform, or even inspire the onlooker. A photograph of a child smiling may make you smile. A photograph of a home being destroyed by a natural disaster may make you sad. As with language barriers, photographs have limitations and issues as well. The person viewing the photograph only assume the story from what they see.

When shooting photos, no matter the intended outcome of the photo, we as the storytellers, have the responsibility to ensure the most accurate story is being told. The way we take the photograph can present a different assumption on the story. One angle can make what should be devastating seem happy and content, while another angle will make a happy story seem scary and horrifying. Lighting can make the same assumptions which is why it is important to monitor and make necessary adjustments. Photoshop can turn a fun filled story into a nightmare.

Men and women all over the world hold themselves to unrealistic standards because storytellers have changed the story. We are storytellers like everyone else, like those who came before us and those who started drawing on the walls in caves. We must be responsible for the story we choose to tell and the duty to share the lesson as it is. We must remember that responsibility every time we pick up our camera.

Skip to toolbar