Visual Storytelling / New Street Agenda

The Reception © Knut Skjærven

The Reception © Knut Skjærven

I am sure that we all have our favourites photographs.

I have many.  THE RECEPTION (next) is one of them. It is a low-key, low noise picture that I took in the gallery area of Berlin a couple of years ago. At first I did not think much of it since it is shot around midnight and it was almost too dark to shoot anything.

I lifted the dark areas and lowered the bright areas in LR and started looking at I properly. It seemed to work after all. Today I enjoy it. Not because of it technical qualities, but because it is a good example of what I call a storytelling photograph.

Let me mentioned that visual storytelling in New Street Agenda fall in one of two categories. You have pictures where the story largely is told within the photograph.   And you have pictures where the story is told, if not mainly, but to a large extent outside the photograph.

Elsewhere we call this for closed and open images. Closed or open stories.

Photographs will often be a combination the two.

THE RECEPTION is an example of a closed image. The story is told within the image. You don’t need much extra  information to see what it is all about.  It is all there.

The story is that you have a guy literally telling a story. Sitting with glass in hand. The two people surrounding him are obviously enjoying his story since they pay full and smiling attention. You can follow their eye directions and find that they cross in front of his face.

There are two minor and supporting stories. One story is going on in the group of people at the back of the room. Another is the relation that has been established by the two dogs and the photographer. Here the story is opening up towards something that partly going on outside the frame: the photographer taking the picture.

You have a single picture. Stories are three in one. Supporting and complementing each other.

Question: Are all street photographs storytelling pictures? Either open or closed or combined?

I think not. In this workbook most of them are. For the simple reason is that storytelling belongs to the very idea of street photography.

© Knut Skjærven

The Workbook for New Street Agenda is in the making and in good progress. Click the image to go there.  Or click here.



One thought on “Visual Storytelling / New Street Agenda

  1. Interesting Knut. I’ve often found that while the humans don’t notice me, the dogs always seem to! Babies too haha. I like this image too. The very bright b/ground really focuses the eye on the story at the front.


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