Four Frame Photo Essay by malj


									Photo Essay #1

A photo essay is the technique of using photographs in a sequence to tell a story. It is also
referred to as a photo story, photo report, and/or photo document. A photo essay can be made for
many purposes: to illuminate, record, inform, entertain, enlighten. In all cases, the series of
photographs is meant to be seen and understood by an audience — the pictures clearly relate to
each other to form a visual essay.

The example provided, when put in sequence, documents the stages of a tree being cut down and
how the neighborhood children reacted to the event. Notice that the subject matter is very clear
and the photographs’ sequence is also very clear.

Create a photo essay. Choose a topic that is of interest and will be fun for you to shoot. You will
need to shoot a series of four or five images that tell a story (with a beginning, middle and end).
You will not be allowed to add captions to your photographs. The pictures alone should tell the

To plan your photo essay, follow these steps:
1. Select your subject. Your photo essay can be on any subject that is of interest of you: daily
   activities, community concerns, the changing face/colors of nature, etc. The first step is to
   choose one subject on which to focus.
2. Do your research. Make necessary arrangements. The amount of research you’ll need to do
   will depend on the subject you choose and how familiar you are with that subject. Collect as
   much information as possible about your subject. You may even need to make arrangements
   for your shoot regarding time, location, or the availability of your subject. For example, if
   you want to shoot a community event, it would be a good idea to ask permission to
   photograph it from those who run the event. If you plan taking photographs of your friends,
   make sure they’re available and that they want to be the subject of your essay.
3. Organize your thoughts and plan your shots. Before shooting, think about what type of
   images you need to tell your story. What kind of lighting do you need? What vantage points
   will capture the most interesting views of your subject? Draw rough sketches of the images
   you’re thinking about. The best way to pre-visualize is to draw your ideas/shots out on an
   index card — that way you can easily add more, discard, or change the order of image ideas
   until you’ve got a good plan for the photographs you want to take.

Shooting your photo essay:
Don’t get too stuck to your plan. While you are shooting, other ideas may come to mind or
interesting opportunities may present themselves. Go ahead and take those pictures as well as the
ones you’ve planned. Unexpected events and flashes of inspiration make life interesting and can
make good photographs, too.

Your images will be critiqued/graded on both technical (watch focus, don’t cast your own
shadow on the subject, etc.), and compositional merits. You will print and mount your photos in
their proper sequence – without adding text or ‘frills’ that distract from the story for grading.
Your self-evaluation and the class critique will also be included in the final assessment.

Due Date: 1st period – end of class Tues. 10/27/09           4th period – end of class Thurs. 10/29

Birkenshaw – Photo Arts I                                                            Photo Essay #1
Birkenshaw – Photo Arts I   Photo Essay #1

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