Sunday, 6 January 2019

narrative image making - visual communication

Took the 1st troll of the New Year with my lovely wife Kirsty today. It was more like a nice spring day! Lots of bright sun, clear ish skies, 10 degrees! Beautiful.

Time to start walking of the Christmas, ok, 2014 onwards excess.

The walk is about 4 miles, and a neat combination of urban and country views. I always take my camera, seeing as it is welded to me, and took some snaps as we strolled. Kirsty is used to being a camera widow, although even after six years I am not sure she is that happy with it, but she accepts it as I am addicted.Today I took the Sony A6000. The Photos were all shot in colour, Raw and converted in my usual self styled way, which I will share in a tutorial soon. 

More often than not when out walking this route I am seeking out interesting skies, looking up, but not today. Today I was looking for things of interest at eye level. The low winter sun leaves exciting harsh and very long shadows.

I am guilty of telling my students that they can find an interesting photograph anywhere, there are always stories, right? So today I thought I would do as I say, to see if I am right.

In photographing at eye level, looking around at what you might say is mundane, seeking visual stories, before long I began to notice boundaries, borders, rules all around, barriers to freedom which are normally reserved for the subconscious, today are thrust to the forefront of my mind. 


When you are out in the world, taking photographs, one thing you cannot fail to notice are rules. Rules are everywhere, in literal text and in symbolic form. 

In the western world we revel in our assumed freedom. Yet once you analyse that assumed freedom, you realise there is no freedom at all, only rules, boundaries and barriers to actual freedom.
Don’t believe me? Have a walk down the street, point your camera, then sit in the comfort of your arm chair and revel in counting the rules, boundaries and barriers to your freedom within that picture and realise, you are not free. You are allowed to exist within the boundaries of an excepted society. Ask yourself who made these rules up? Not you, or me that is for sure.

Anyway back to the photos.

You would be forgiven for thinking this is an image outside of a high security mental institution (depending on your opinion of schools it could be construed as such) but it is actually a primary school ‘boundary’. Let us not allow our children to be children, to play, learn and expand their minds though natural interaction. No, let us brainwash them from birth to get used to being bars, within boundaries, following rules and knowing not to go beyond the boundary. Keep away from this gate for fear of death. If my school had been like this, I would have been damaged by it. I know from talking to my kids, they are brainwashed by it. And I know, the news says all of this safety is for children’s own good, to keep the bogey man out, the terrorist and the nutcase. But really, is it? What are these boundaries and barriers really doing to our kids? I have my own theories, which will be in the book :)

Recycling. This made me laugh, next to the for sale sign.

But again, stories. New Year’s is often about new starts, getting well, losing weight, getting fit. What made me laugh about this is that it made me feel the opposite. The headline I had in my mind was ‘Wife buys husband exercise bike for Christmas, husband gives it away the following week, and wife put’s the house up for sale’ Funny.

Remnants of a wild night out? I checked, there was no foot and leg in the bushes.

What story may you use for this image?

Give me shelter.

The only thing which surprised me about this was the lack of homeless person in it, after all there’s ample room for 2 or 3, yeh? And there’s two modes of transport right on the doorstep. In all seriousness, who designed that bench? A bus stop to accommodate 6, 8 people? With enough seating for 3? Surely that is asking for anarchy? I can see it now, three snowflakes plugged in to their devises, on the bench, while the old dear and her husband with arthritis stand there dying. And I bet that bin is a lovely thing to have to stand next to in the summer, bees, wasps and rubbish! Great planning!
I wonder if the free bus to Morrison’s will collect the shopping trolley?

After Halloween.

Saw this damaged pumpkin seeking comfort from the leaves, and having an hug from the branch. Humans leave our excrement everywhere, and nature turns it in to art.

After humans:

What would happen to this patch of land  if the Lions didn’t return? How long before someone else took care of it? Can we trust humans to intervene?

Brick lane, surely?


Do we really need to see inside the bin, to know what is, or has been in there? We assume this was full of bottles, we assume the bottles will be alcohol. Does the bin belong to heavy drinkers, or has there been a party, after all it is New Year? Assumption is what humans are good at. One of the awesome things about photographing the seemingly mundane, is for the viewer to decipher the story, or to create one. What do you think?


Think of the stories this building could tell. How many lives, words, people it has seen?

I will not give you any context, any history, its place in my life time, I will leave you to devise your own narrative.

Thanks for staying with me on this one folks. I didn’t begin with much of a thread, I just wanted to share with you, and remind you that you really do not have to plan you photography to death to get worthy outcomes, just go and find some stories, they are everywhere, even as I found out during my MA, in your own back garden. I hope this short blog post has given you a little confidence to just go out and make some pictures. 1.5 hours, 4 miles produced a decent set of images and stories. If I can do it so can you :)

Below is a link to another basic tutorial or two I have shared, I am going to re do the Raw conversion and Micro adjustment video with more info, it is a little too fast for my liking, so I will replace it at some point soon.

Cheers for your support all, Lance

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