Telling Stories Through Photos: The Link Between Writing and Photography

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”

When it came to storytelling, I never considered images. As a writer, I only ever thought of actual novels. When I’m taking a photo, I’m not thinking about telling a story. I spot an inspiring scene and I’m driven to capture it. I need to preserve it.

When I’m looking at my photos, I get these feeling in my chest, this awe when I spot a good one. It sometimes feels as though someone else took that photo.

Kind of like writing.

My idea of a story has always been based on books and writing. Even when I look up the definition of a story, it’s all about prose.

Then I thought about this definition:

a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.

I reworded it. An image designed to interest, amuse or instruct the viewer. It’s a picture that invokes emotion. Spark your imagination.

Hopefully, you see this image and think of a story behind it.

The story could be very, very fantastical or more grounded in reality.

Like writing, the story has been told before. The scene has been photographed, probably hundreds of times. But, it’s never been photographed by you.

Your eyes, your experiences can bring something new.

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
— Don McCullin

Sounds like writing. No feeling in the writer; no feeling in the reader.

If you’re looking at a photo and just feel meh about it, the image probably doesn’t work. Don’t just shoot straight on. Move around. Find a different perspective. Find a way to take the shot only you could take, to tell the story only you could tell.