The Importance of Storytelling

I've said it before - storytelling is everything as a photographer. There are lots of stories to tell, and each story requires a different presentation to share that story with the eventual viewer of the image.

Some stories tell themselves. Others need help. As a photographer, I need to use the tools at my disposal - namely the camera and lens - to capture that story, and to aid in conveyance. If we fail as storytellers, we fail as photographers. 

This image was a particularly fun story. The man peeking up from the ground is actually a bronze statue titled "Man at Work" on the streets of Bratislava, Slovakia. Tourists from around the world flock to kneel next to him and have their photo taken. Some rub the top of his hat for good luck (though after watching a few dogs pee on the statue, presumably for good luck, I opted out of the good luck charm). The photo everyone takes of him is one posing next to the statue. Yawn.

I stood about 20 feet away and got the camera low to the ground. Using the Leica f/0.95 Noctilux lens (which is wonderful for storytelling), I focused on the statue with a shallow depth of field. With the Leica Monochrom producing the black and white image, I just needed to wait and time my shot when there were a bunch of legs in the scene. I wanted the final product to feel a bit weird - to give the viewer goosebumps. 

The locals joke that his job is to look up the skirts of women passing by. I don't know about that, but I hope that my photograph told a similar story!

Quick Shot(s): Dark & Moody or Bright & Lively?

There's been a lot of ramblings about camera equipment here lately, so today we'll get back to the photography with this duo of photos.....

These are two very different images of the same set of trees that I came upon during a long hike this weekend. I couldn't decide which composition I preferred as I framed the shot, so took both and figured I'd work it out later when I could review them on my computer.... but I figure I'll share both because it might help you.

The two photographs were made with the same camera (Leica SL) and same lens. I am standing in the same place for both - the difference is that I crouched down a few feet on one to include more eye-level perspective on the shrubs and underexposed one image by -1/2 stop. But look at what a different feel these images have! One is darker and more moody, while the other is bright and lively.

The point is, composition and photographic technique will have more to do with storytelling than the equipment you carry. It doesn't matter what brand that camera is if you don't know how to use it to get the results you want.

Which of these two photos do you prefer? Dark and moody or bright and lively? Comment and let me know!