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2013 April 10 — The Meaningful Traveler

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stories beyond words – Part 1

by Steve Brock on April 10, 2013

Now that we’ve explored what makes a good story,  how conflict can actually lead to better stories and when not to tell a story, let’s move beyond words.

In today’s world of higher quality cameras on mobile phones, images play an increasingly important role in storytelling. Look at the popularity of Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, YouTube or other photo or video sharing sites. We’re a visual culture. Learning to tell your story in the pictures or videos you take on a trip can greatly improve the enjoyment you and others have later as you recount your experiences.

To illustrate, I’ve selected a half dozen or so images from a trip a few years ago. I’m not going to tell you where it was. In fact, that’s the challenge: You have to figure it out based on the images. I’ll be sending out one every day or so. Each will demonstrate a point about visual storytelling, but each is a clue as well. So let’s begin with this image:


You probably don’t even consciously think about what you think about when you see a photo like this. If you bother to reflect, you might be wondering where this is, what it is and maybe, what it means.

Does this photo tell a story to you? Probably not. It may be interesting, but it likely lacks enough details for you to be able to translate into your own context. And that’s key. Good stories, whether told in words or conveyed in images, connect with the listener/reader/viewer personally and we can relate to them.

When we’re not given those details, we either ignore the image as irrelevant, or we may be intrigued enough to fill in the details on our own. So ask yourself as you look at the photo, what’s going on inside of you? Do you want to dismiss the image or do you find yourself wanting to make up your own story about it? Or even better, does it trigger some memory of say, a fountain or sculpture you once saw and now you’re adding all of those associations to the image?

As you create your own images, think about what they communicate or more importantly, what they might mean to others.

So any guess as to even what country this shot is from?

To be continued…

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