Once Upon a Time…Photos That Tell Stories: November’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Stories are a way of understanding the world, making sense of our experience, and connecting with the experiences of others.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” – Joan Didion

And even when we experience an event in common, our story of it varies.  (I notice that my sister and I have very different stories of our childhood, even though we grew up in the same house, in the same neighborhood, with the same parents!)

“It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.”  – Native American saying

We often think of stories as made of words…but images tell stories too.  There are the fairy stories of life among the mushrooms and delicate petals of flowers.

mushroom macro

Stories are elaborated by the teller, based on their own experiences and background knowledge.  A single image can result in innumerable stories…this image could be an innocent flower bud, a ravenous man-eating plant, or even a robot designed to grab intruders as they enter the grounds.bud fist

In some photos we recognize the heroine and anticipate the plot twists.  At other times the story shifts and the unexpected happens.

in the mirror

Does this image depict the narrative of professional development, teachers working together to solve problems and provide support to students?

grade 2

Sometimes a setting alone can create mood and tone for the story about to unfold like this sunshine through the fall foliage.

fall tree

Action can be shown in subtle ways…in hands to the face, tools strewn around, even the position of the feet.

boys

And light and reflection can also add to the action, foreshadowing events yet to come…

kayaking

Sometimes the image suggests the music you can hear in the background, in this case a happy, upbeat song of youthful energy.

photo

Others bring tension, that sense that something is coming.  Will the doctor diagnose a terminal illness or is this a skeleton that will reach out and grab someone?

skeleton

What photos have you taken that tell stories?  Here’s a list of prompts to help you think about stories and consider as you take photos this month.

1. Character

2. Plot

3. Setting

4. Foreshadowing

5. Suspense

6. Words

7. Narrative

8. Point of view

9. Fantasy

10. Fairy tale 

11. Mystery

12. Science Fiction

13. Music

14. Symbolism

15. Narrator

16. Action

17. Humor

18. Hyperbole

19. Happy Ending

20. Heroine or Hero

21. Fable

22. Drama

23. Mood

24. Memoir

25. Fiction

26. Nonfiction

27. Journalism

28. Moral

29. Tension

30. Villain

So go out and take photos that tell a story and then post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts.  If you are game for some more playfulness, write the story that the photo tells, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, or make a video or slideshow. You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

Be on the lookout for stories this month…in a single photo or in a series.  (You might even try a 5-image story.)  You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can play this game by posting your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it.  You get to make your own rules!  Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!  So go out and use you lens as a story telling tool.  I can’t wait for you to share the stories you find through your lens!

2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time…Photos That Tell Stories: November’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

  1. lynnjake

    Wow! you set the bar high! I think I just might be up for the challenge. Somehow I think this might work right into my lists. Your photo story is beautiful. It flows from one image to the next, seamlessly.

    Reply
    1. kd0602 Post author

      It would be such fun to see the photos you take! We like to give ourselves new challenges to keep things interesting…and of course, you can make meaning of the prompts as you want! Many of my photo-a-day images are on Instagram and Twitter…not all on my blog.

      Kim

      Reply

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