The strength of visual story telling
Photography in itself it not interesting - it is only what you’re able to tell with your pictures that’s interesting. You, the storyteller, must have something on your mind - something of interest to other people. And, in order to make people interested in your story, you must acknowledge, that you’re dealing with a visual medium. You must be able to capture moments, and compose them into a story, so the audience sees and understands it.
The combination of having an interesting story to tell and being able to visualize it is what all good photojournalism is about.
In the homework contest the young photographers had the possibility to work within the theme strength. And it was obvious that most of them had good ideas and strong stories to tell. I found a wonderful variety in the topics and photographic styles among the participating stories – and it’s easy to conclude that the young photographers all had something on their mind. They were all eager to tell a story with their pictures.
When I choose the winning stories for a competition like this I want to be moved by the moments in the pictures. I want to be touched by the mood of the scenes. I want to feel close to the people in the stories – I want to understand the story. This was the case with the five stories that I finally selected.
The five selected stories all had this extra level, which made them more interesting than the rest. For instance: when one photographer photographed in a very dark style to make the viewer feel like the blind person in the story. Or when another photographer used a small analogue film camera to get access to the daily life in the military.
Story telling is not only about the topic and the strength of the pictures – it’s also about sequencing the story and creating a context. The five selected stories also stood out due to the photographers’ ability to create a variation and a flow in their picture stories. And the texts, which were connected to the five stories, gave me further knowledge about the topics and a stronger identification with the people in the stories. Just like a good text should do.
The five photographers took their responsibility as storytellers seriously – They didn’t only make pictures for themselves. They made photojournalism for a broader audience.
I congratulate the five selected photographers for their stories. They’re all examples of the strength of visual story telling.
the head of the world-famous photojournalism education at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX)