Friday, June 22, 2007

Every Picture Tells a Story Don't It?

Not that Rod Stewart is crooning about photography when he sings those lyrics but they're certainly usable when discussing the art and craft of photography.

Does every picture have to tell a story? Is the term, "story," as it applies to certain photography genres, overused and sometimes cliche?

No and yes, at least in my opinion.

The term, "story," when discussing photography, began in the world of editorial photography. Somewhere along the line, a publisher or an art director or photo editor might have asked for images that graphically illustrated a story or an idea. Or perhaps it was a photographer who initiated the idea? (Not that it matters.) But that's how it began.

The world of advertising seized on this concept and, as an example, "Fashion Editorial" was born. It wasn't enough for advertisers to showcase beautiful models as clothes hangers, the images had to say something more, story wise or idea wise, that is. Not always a small feat for single images principally designed to sell products to consumers.

Which brings me to contemporary glamour and tease photography or, as I'm fond of calling it, pretty girl shooting.

Do pretty girl pics need to tell a story? Personally, I don't think so. Glamour, for the most part, isn't intended to illustrate a story or an idea. It's intended to showcase the model in an attractive and alluring way. That's not to say glamour images don't conjure ideas or stories within the minds of the viewers. Let's hope they do! That's the whole point, isn't it? If the model and the shooter successfully create images that underscore the model's sexual charisma, well, we know where many of the ideas and "stories" within the minds of the viewers are going, don't we?

I think the notion of pretty girl pics telling a story is little more than an attempt, on the part of shooters, to overly intellectualize the images. Let's call a spade a spade here: While pretty girl pics usually say something about the model, that something is very basic and requires little in the way of intellectual critique. And we all know what that "something" is about.

The pretty girls at the top are Kayla and Alexa from a recent shoot. I suppose the picture tells a story, but I'll leave it to viewers' imaginations to figure out where that story is heading.


Justin said...

I know this is OT, but at the same time, of all the people I read regularly, I immediately thought of you. I know you love your Mola Dish(es) but how do they attach to the strobe head? Really simple question, but finding an answer seems to be nigh impossible, mola has no manual available online, and while im fairly sure I will be able to mount the thing on my WLX1600, I don't want to buy it and be wrong.

jimmyd said...


like most any modifier, mola dishes utilize a speedring that is designed to attach to the dish and whatever head or monolight you intend to attach.

when i purchased my mola, it came with a speedring that wasn't designed for the monolight i wanted to attach to it. a friend was able to modify it so that it fit, albeit it's still a bit too snug which makes it difficult to swap out and changing the lighting instrument I'm using with it.

i would think anyone who sells the dish, e.g., B&H or Adorama or Samy's or Amazon or others, would (and should) also carry a selection of speedrings that will accommodate both the dish and various instruments a buyer would wish to attach to it.

ben said...

well, i hope that story involes me. great work as always.

Bert said...

When I teach workshops, I tell my students that every picture shot tell a story, an emotion or a feeling.
Just being sexy/beautifull qualifies to that too, I guess.

A story can be very complicated or very simple. If your lighting, framing, posing, ... helps the model to look sexy, you told the story too.

Just my 2 cents.