Something I had perceived until that moment as a simple means of capturing pretty scenes became something altogether different: It was a way to tell a story.
– Lynsey Addario
Evolving as a photographer has been an enlightening journey. Its always interesting to look back at previous images to see how my perspective has changed regarding how I capture images.
No other change has been more paramount than learning how to tell a story. The ability to tell a story within the image is very important, as it conveys meaning. Without meaning, most viewers are lost and cannot make an emotional connection to the image.
Telling stories with a 2 dimensional square is a daunting task. How can we create what we see in front of us; how to tell our audience what we’re experiencing; how to convey the feelings we have for a particular place?
I find my best images are created when I have an in depth understanding of the various elements around me. For example, trees…I’m not an arborist, but I love trees. I’ve studied them, I can identify many species, I know how old they are, etc. – in essence, I want to learn their story. Using that information in the field will affect my decisions when deciding composition etc. Knowledge of trees has a direct impact on what I want to show in my images, which is the story of the tree.
This knowledge carries over into geology and animals too. I find that meditation and contemplation of a scene creates better images because it allows me to understand subject matter better and how their stories can be expressed. Story making is the essence of landscape photography.