Telling stories / by Andrew Dacey

Dunlewey Church, Poisoned Glen, Ireland.

I like this image, it's not the best from my trip to Donegal, Ireland, but I'm still quite fond of it. I love old buildings like this. I think this works as a single image, but I'm not really sure it tells much of a story. Maybe it's more shots of the same church, maybe it's building up a collection of abandoned buildings or abandoned churches. There's something here I think, but it's not quite there yet.

One of the more common pieces of advice you'll see regarding how to improve your photography, once you get beyond the basics of technical advice, is to create images that tell a story, either as a single image or in a series of images such as a photo essay.

I absolutely love telling stories. If you get me talking it's often hard to get me to stop rambling about some type of story. I'll even recount friends' stories to others. I love reading novels and getting immersed in the story that the author has woven. I've often dreamt of writing a novel and sharing my stories with others.

When it comes to my writing I tend to have a very strong sense of the visual in my mind, and the struggle I have is conveying those visuals into words. What's unusual, is that for some reason I have a huge block when it comes to working in the other direction. For whatever reason, my brain seems to segregate stories into words whereas when I'm working with photos I'm purely thinking about the visual and how to compose an image.

I think there are two ways forward. First, I should work on my writing more often. I'm trying to write more blog posts on this site, and some of my other sites. Given how important writing is to me, it seems like this is a skill I should work on developing more. Meanwhile, on the image side of things I think I need to start exposing myself to more visual stories, either looking at single images that tell a strong story or looking at photo essays that resonate with me. I think this is one area that I've been somewhat lacking in, I don't have a lot of good role models in this space in terms of what I want to emulate. Then in the longer-term I should start looking for opportunities to try to tell my own stories in a visual way, either just with images, or with a mix of photos and words.