School of Art, Media, and Technology

Storytelling through Photographs – Lecture by Michael Freeman

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Storytelling is back in photography. The world of the photo story, or photo essay, has a long and rich history, dating back to the heyday of Life magazine and others, and many of us believe that this is photography’s true calling. Photographs excel at reporting the world and, in a well planned sequence, at telling stories. Drawing on a career centered on magazine and book assignments that have almost all been stories, Michael Freeman explains the workings of the photo essay, from conception to the final show.

1. Storytelling: What does it really mean? It comes down to the photo essay

2. The story so far: Brief history and the many kinds of photo essay

3. Country Doctor: A blow by blow look at what is widely regarded as the original classic photo essay

[the following are illustrated by MF case histories, shooting for Time-Life, the Smithsonian, etc]

4. Planning a story: what you should and can do in advance, and what is best left to the time of the shoot.

5. Shooting a story: picture scripts, adapting, on-the-spot decisions, developing the story as it continues.

6. Editing a story: reversing rôles to take a cool, clear look at your take. Basic 3+1 needs: opener, body, closer + key shot(s).

7. The Show: in print and on-line (slideshow design and the new storytelling possibilities of tablet apps)

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