Telling stories

It’s easy to take ugly photos, but it’s also easy to take beautiful photos. Photos that are esthetically completely correct. And in that sense, it’s hard to take ugly photos. Photos that aren’t taken to be beautiful, but are taken to tell a story. I can’t not forget about esthetics, and that’s something I want to change. It’s not that just want to go around and take ugly pictures because that is too easy. No, I want to go around and tell stories, and let that be the number one reason I’m showing you a photo. Not because the building on it is so beautiful and the composition is 100% according to the rules. No, story first, esthetics later. And form follows function, because if the story is interesting enough, then the photo because esthetically beautiful because of the story that’s told.

Here’s a selection of three photos I took during the urban safari with my friends from my D4 photoclub. The first photo was taken purely esthetically. I wanted to play with the rain on the ground, it’s basically playing with architecture and reflection. It’s an ok photo, I’m happy about it, looks nice and stuff, but it’s so… empty. You look at it, think ‘ok well nice’, and then you move on. The next picture is already more of a story, I think. Well, at least I tried to tell a small story. There’s this building (in the harbor of Rotterdam, by the way) all covered in graffiti, and if you look closely at the photo, there’s this guy working on a piece. I think the photo turned out ok both story-wise and esthetically. Well, at least I tried. The third photo is telling a story too (I was so intrigued by the dirty matress, what as it doing there, was someone actually sleeping out there in the cold?) but esthetically I’m not happy with it. So does that mean I didn’t tell the story right, or did I tell the story right but there’s no way you can’t completely forget about composition and stuff?

I don’t know, it’s an interesting thing to think about and work on, something which is good for me to explore (heck, I’d even contemplated being a warphotographer once because of the stories you can tell!) since I feel I lack something when I’m just trying to take pretty pictures… I guess there’s just so much more to photography than just that (pretty pictures), and I’m so at the beginning of learning all these things, even though I’ve been doing it for ages now. Well, lots of things to think about and explore! (Please share your thoughts on this matter, I’d love to hear what you think!)

2 gedachtes over “Telling stories

  1. Nick zegt:

    Hello rrivka

    I get what you are saying , lately I am wondering about what I want with my pix , and living in city like Rotterdam and in the hood ( The Southside) where I live is perfect for all stories .
    So I started a series , Where I Live , and I started taking pix of people , shops , so all street related scenes .
    And I am not sure what I want to tell , I guess it shapes up when I continue with this but I guess I am focussing on the many cultures that live in my hood , how they ( don’t ) get along with eachother , what is their everyday live and how does a hood adepts , developes with all these cultures togeteher . Because basicly they are creating their own world in another country instead of opening up to the culture they are in now .

    I think beauty and beautiful are two different words , like on Flickr you see many mainstream beautiful pix of vintage , lomo , long shutterspeed waterfalls , the mainstream beautiful people and it gets boring because it feels a bit empty , like an overdose beautiful ..

    Beauty can be fascinating and it doesn’t even have to be “nice” or comfortable beautifull , but how do I translate that to photo’s ?

    I think what I do is to try to let go a little , I am a little too fixed on beautiful and perfect and I am doing this also in my everyday life , for example , in my perfect kitchen is now a BIG ugly carton box but my cats loves it so I let the box stay .

    Same with my pictures , instead of focussing if all is neat and nifty , I try to have more fun with it , so I try to loosen up a little and warm up to the imperfect picture 🙂

    And I hope this will get me closer to my own core and in so I can translate my own fascination to my photo’s so they can be and feel more honest to me .
    I have no idea how they will come out then , but this is the beginning of me changing and eventualy I hope it shows on my photo’s .

    • rrrauw zegt:

      Very interesting, Nick! I want to let go too but I realize it’s so difficult, I guess I’m too scared to let go as I’m such a perfectionist. I want a picture to be perfect, and many times that just leads to empty photos. Well, people will maybe say ‘oh that’s such a beautiful picture’ but to me it’s just… just that, and nothing more. So I guess I’ve realised it’s not fulfilling enough to just make beautiful pictures, and like you I’ll just have to let go to try and tell good stories instead. It’s an interesting process though, because how do you tell a story? And at the same time, like I said, telling a story doesn’t mean the photo has to be ugly… Well, enough food for thought and things to be learned!

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