Photographs that tells a story

This might look like a simple image to the naked eye. And it is a rather simple image.
But does it tell you a story? If so, please share your thoughts with a comment.

I admit it; most of the images that I have noticed and ranked on several websites in the past has been technically and perfectly polished photographs. Landscapes, seascapes, scenery, woods, architecture, studio and outdoors portraits, pets, cars and products. The effects, the colours, the perfection in many of the images were very attractive.
Many of them look unreal. Maybe they sort of are?

In the last six or so months I have experienced a major shift in regards to what is pleasing for my eyes and my mind. I enjoy beautiful and polished shots still – but they are not as interesting for me as they previously were. Maybe because the perfect and polished shots has been my focus for the last six years? Or maybe my interest just changed? Who knows.

During the last six months I have started to enjoy photographs that tells a story. A photograph that makes you think. A photograph that engages me, and a photograph that I look at for an extended period of time rather than just glance at. The photograph does not necessarily need to be technically good.
It doesn’t even need to be in focus or exposed correctly. Colours or black and white doesn’t really matter, although I feel that in certain scenarios a black and white image makes me think even more.

The genre that I have really started to enjoy is often called Street Photography. It is very interesting to document the daily life of people; expressions, emotions, happy moments, sad moments and so forth. Every image is unique and I find it very captivating to be able to document unique moments which never can be re-created. A building never moves so you can spend an eternity to frame the perfect shot with the perfect light. You can never plan your shots in the same way when you try to document people in their daily life however.

I have tried shooting Street Photography for the past months. But it is hard. Very hard. I’ve heard people say “Oh, just go out in the streets and take pictures of people – what’s the deal? That’s easy!”.
And yes, that might be easy. But I have never experienced such a low keeper-rate – ever. Many of the photographs are good photographs, but they aren’t special. I want to capture that special moment that makes you stare at a picture for an extended period of time and wonder what’s happening.
A picture that tells a story.

Making such images are very challenging. I find myself working the photograph as much as I never have done in the past. It is also very inspiring and can be quite rewarding as well. And I expect that if you capture that one shot it probably feels like you won the lottery. I try to be optimistic and hopeful.

When you look at photographs that are posted on the web – do you usually focus on the technical and polished presentation or do you try to interpret the story within the image?

If you have experience with Street Photography – please share them!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Easy Lifestylesreply
August 11, 2012 at 23:58

Great photo. My impression when I looked at was 2 backpackers traveling the country side.

Thanks for sharing it my friend. You have a very nice blog here. Have a great day my friend.

August 12, 2012 at 00:11
– In reply to: Easy Lifestyles

Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated!
Enjoy your day as well.

Easy Lifestylesreply
August 12, 2012 at 00:12
– In reply to: Børge

Thank you very much. You have wonderful photos on your blog. Thanks again for sharing them.

August 12, 2012 at 00:10

I like street photography too. Anyone can capture a monument or a building, but to me, street photography requires a different kind of patience and skill, waiting for an opportune moment to capture — if you’re quick enough.

August 12, 2012 at 00:15
– In reply to: iwhowander

Yes that’s basically what I’ve started to think as well. I guess it’s my next stepping stone. I still love all sorts of photography, but certain genres are becoming more inspiring and rewarding than others for me. Street Photography is one of them, and it as at the top of the list currently.

I guess you also need to have a natural interest in people to capture special moments of people in their daily life. If you ain’t looking at people you won’t witness the special moments.

Do you have some examples of your work anywhere? I’d love to see it.

August 12, 2012 at 00:19
– In reply to: Børge

I’ve got a handful on my Flickr. I didn’t start to appreciate street photography until I was traveling. I have more to edit but here’s the link –

August 12, 2012 at 00:23
– In reply to: iwhowander

Thanks for sharing. You have a nice collection of very good photographs there. I added you as a contact on Flickr. I’m looking forward to see more of your work in the future!

Personally, I find that my interest in street photography has caused a huge interest in traveling. So it’s quite the opposite from your experience 🙂

August 12, 2012 at 08:31
– In reply to: Børge

Thank you, I have added you to my contacts as well! I enjoy looking at your photos, they motivate me to work more on composition and color correction (as my eye is still off on this) 🙂

August 12, 2012 at 15:38

For me, it is two people who were so busy walking that they decided to take a break and absorb the place they were in. The colored houses add all the more drama to it. Street Photography truly is a gift for people like me who suck at technical details.

August 13, 2012 at 21:54

Absolutly, this photo tells a story. It also has a good set of colors, the shorts of the two matching the colors of the buildings.
I think it’s hard to capture people, not only technically but dearing to take photos of people when I don’t know what they would think – do you ask for permission to use the photo afterwards? I admit that I recently has stolen some peoples backs, like you have done here 🙂

August 13, 2012 at 22:08
– In reply to: mindomin

No, I never ask permission. I also take photos of people while they see me, but I rarely make eye-contact with them so they are probably not aware that I made a photo of them. There are many opinions regarding this, and if someone stopped me and asked me to delete a photo I would. But, according to our laws nobody has a right to privacy in the streets. You can take a picture of anyone and use it for what you like. Nobody can demand that you delete the photo, however, I would delete it if someone asked me to (except if I shoot film – I am not destroying an entire film for one photo no matter what the person says).

It is very awkward to take photos of people in the beginning. Especially with a wide-angle lens. You have to get really close! But I have discovered that most people actually like to be photographed. I often find a corner or a nice composition then pre-focus and just wait for someone to walk into the scene and then click the shutter. I never look at photos then and there, try to avoid eye contact but if I do get eye-contact I just smile and nod as a “thank you”. Usually everyone smiles back 🙂

August 13, 2012 at 22:14
– In reply to: Børge

So, that’s a challenge to overcome, daring to just be strange 🙂 It took a while beeing just to walk around with the camera, but it soon gets better. I guess most people would take it as a complement really..

August 13, 2012 at 22:25
– In reply to: mindomin

Well, it helps to have a small and “invisible” camera 🙂 I wouldn’t be comfortable using a DSLR with a big lens while making these types of photographs. I use a small and anonymous mirrorless camera with a small lens, and it’s all black with no logos or brands or stuff like that visible on it. It is also very, very silent… You can barely hear the shutter… That helps alot 🙂

August 18, 2012 at 09:39

Usually I look a picture and decide instantaneously if I like it or not. Of course, the quality of photo it’s important, but “the story” as well – behind the visual impact, the story rules unconscious in our head. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to find a story for this picture: let’s say there is a couple in the middle age crisis and who wants to save their marriage. She comes with the idea to start a travel without planning anything. In the picture it is only a sequence from a mountain village, they are admiring the nice landscape from the bridge and they are happy. What do you think? Do they have any chance to stay together? It was the morning fantasy 🙂 Nice blog!!!!

August 18, 2012 at 09:49
– In reply to: fashionbyamanda

That’s so great fashionbyamanda, I see å complete different story. And the best is that we both are right!

Tomorrow we might see another story. That’s why I never explain my abstract pictures, it’s richer without a “right” interpretation.

August 18, 2012 at 11:00
– In reply to: fashionbyamanda

Thanks for your comment 🙂
That’s the great thing about photography, and especially photographs that’s open for personal interpretation. Everyone can make their own story based on the contents of the photograph!

I hope they make it. It’s all up to them. Anyone can make it if they really want to!

Thanks for sharing your story!

eclectic faeriereply
August 29, 2012 at 04:01

great photo! i could make up a sad or romantic story but i’ll go with humor: he’s telling her that if he has to look at those garish red boots for one more day he’ll throw them off the bridge. heh heh

i used to love street photography, and would make up little narratives, a paragraph maximum, that gave a slice of life. it was so much fun

August 29, 2012 at 09:57
– In reply to: eclectic faerie

Hehe, now that’s a fun story. Thanks for sharing 🙂
I am growing more and more fond of street photography. I guess the reason is because each scene is unique, and it’s exciting to wait for or try to find a moment.

It also get’s me out and on my feet very often! one day of street photography equals about 5-10 kilometers of walking around, which is a nice excersise in itself 🙂

October 25, 2012 at 22:28

Thought you might be interrested in this blog post, maybe you’ve seen it already.
It’s not about street photography, but something in the same genre.

(hope the link works, if not, you’re able to guess :))

October 30, 2012 at 11:08

You’ve captured this preefclty. Thanks for taking the time!

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