Now that you have gathered some background information about the photo it is time to start digging even deeper. The photo itself can’t tell a story – you have to write the story you want to tell your readers.
To do this you need to ‘read’ the photo – what are the emotions and mood of the photo, is there a history behind the photo, what do you feel when you look at the photo, is it an ordinary or memorable event? Is there something in the photo which reveals something about the past? For example, the structure, building materials or style of a building or fashions, types of cars and so on.
If your photo is of people, what can you learn from their facial expressions, their posture, what they are wearing, their hairstyles, what they are doing? Are they positioned close to each other or standing at a distance? Are they facing each other or looking away? Does anyone dominate the picture? Is it a family photo? Do they look relaxed and happy or is the picture more formal? These details will give you some clues about the mood of the picture, the period of the picture, the relationships between the people in the picture.
If you have chosen a photo of a building, what was/is it used for, is it an old building, is it dilapidated and crumbling? Can you imagine who might have lived or worked there? Is it a famous building, do you know anything about its history?venice bookshop small
It is not only photos of buildings or people that can tell a story. The photo on the right is of a second-hand book shop in Venice which is possibly the most unusual bookshop I have ever visited. The back entrance opens up onto a canal and the steps up to the water are made out of piles of old books. There are books stacked up everywhere both inside and out and the main part of the shop is dominated by a gondola crammed full of books.
Below is a list of things you should do to complete Lesson 3:
- Is it a happy or sad occasion?
- What is the mood of the photo?
- What do you think the people are saying to each other?
- How are the people in the photo dressed?
- What do their facial expressions tell you?
- What do you think any people in the photo might be thinking or feeling?
- What’s happening in the photo?
- Is their anything unusual or surprising about the photo?
- Is there anything in the photo which gives a sense of period or place?
- Do you know anything about the history behind the building(s) in the photo?
- Is the photo from a different period but in a location which is familiar to you?
- Do you know why the photo was taken?
Before moving on the next lesson complete assignment 3 in your Writing the Stories Behind your Photos Workbook.
When you have completed the assignment, click here to go to Lesson 4 Looking beyond the photo.