Part 5: Narrative & Illustration

This final part of the course is about how to tell a story with a single image or with a series of images. To be able to do this successfully there are several techniques which need to be learned and applied. These techniques will be covered as we progress through this part of the course.

Putting the subject first.

So far on this course the main focus has been on the elements that make up the photograph, and not so much the subject. This part of the course redresses the balance and looks a little more at the subject with the other details taking a back seat, so to speak. 

Many of us will recognise the cyclist in the centre of the image below as multiple Olympic medallist and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins. I took this photograph as he raced through Kingston earlier this year. For me at the time, all I was concerned about was that I had a decent photo of him. I had a couple of seconds to do it and no other opportunity. So in the end I was delighted to get this. I had to crop it down, he is slightly out of focus and a little blurred, but it is clearly him. At a professional level, this is not a very good photograph but if it was the only picture available it would do. The subject in this case was clearly the priority above all else.

In the image below of grass growing through snow, the subject itself is less important but how it is handled is. Getting the lighting, contrast and composition right was the priority. Had I not spent time trying to get these things right, the photograph would have looked much less interesting and attractive. This does go to show that a mundane subject, such as this grass, given the right treatment, can be turned into an interesting subject. This concept is something which I'm sure is very much on the minds of advertising executives or promoters keen to have their product seen in the best possible light.