Photographers Build a Narrative Story Essay

Photographers Build a Narrative Story Essay

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The word 'narrative' means a spoken or written account of connected events with a beginning, middle and an end, that can communicate an idea. In photography, narrative techniques can be made use of to build and develop a story, hold the attention of an audience, and enable them to relate to the narrative, similar to that of a painting. A story told through photographs can exist as a single or a series of images, and can be described as a 'fragment(s)' of time. Types of photographic narrative come in many forms, such as snapshots, mise-en-scene, tableau and time exposures. Focusing particularly on singular photographs, this discussion will talk about how photographers such as Gregory Crewdson and Cindy Sherman construct and stage narratives in their images in the cinematic theme, and how they originated. Photographic narrative does not necessarily follow the traditions of beginning, middle and end, but may simply imply what has happened, what is happening and what could happen next. They give an audience a thread to follow; giving them a fictional interpretation of a person, event, place or moment in time.

Telling a story through a photograph can take many forms of presentation, commonly being singular of sets of images, which informs how the image is read. They give audiences a thread to follow or a concept to grasp. However these types of photographs do not necessarily follow the beginning, middle and end structure, they may simply imply what is happening, what has happened, or suggest what could happen.
Photography is commonly associated with fact, yet it has been a medium for fiction since its invention. Henry Peach Robinson was a Pictorialist photographer in the 1800s who was notable for his combination prints where h...


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... what has happened. Film stills are not isolated frames from a film but rather reenactments that advertise the movie, which must stimulate enough interest to sell to the public; it must 'tease' the viewer. The voyeuristic ideas portrayed here could suggest the work of director Alfred Hitchcock, who is broadly known for his thrillers from the 1920s to the early 1970s, with the recurring subject of ‘the girl’. Densely filled with suspense, ‘the girl’ is always alone, with her facial expression and body posture implying ‘the other’, whether it be a stalker or savior who struggles for her possession; a common story line in Hitchcock films. These ideas appear within Sherman’s stills frequently, with performance being the core of her photographs.
Continuing from her black and white stills, Sherman began to work more in colour, becoming more contemporary in her approach.

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