I find it next to impossible to take a picture and not have some sort of story attached to it.
Shelly wrote a piece earlier about the importance of stories from the audience perspective. I am one of those people that looks at a picture and wants to know what’s happening, happened, or about to happen… how did that individual get into that situation? If no story, or even a small shred of plot is provided by the creator, I make up my own. I imagine many people viewing a static image do the same, filling in the blanks as the perceive them. So in an attempt to convey the story I have in my mind, I write it out and try to sway the reader into seeing the photo from my point of view.
I have no formula for stories. Take a shot, edit said shot and while editing, something usually pops into my head. Other times, a story develops while I’m at work, completely removed from my gear and my figures! Than I’m stuck with some ridiculous plot brewing in my imagination while I try to go through my day like a “normal” person. There are plenty of times where I head out, box of figures, entirely too much camera gear and my wife in tow, with no idea what-so-ever of what I’m going for.
I’ve been asked many times “…how do you come up with your captions?”. Honestly, I don’t have an answer for that. I look at a figure and something comes to mind. Usually something far, far removed from that figures original story and origin. Where do the ideas come from? I haven’t a clue…
I have a Gremlin (Gaston) that’s a millionaire, a pair of battle droids (Gerald and Jon) on a quest for enlightenment, a stormtrooper (Salvador) training for The X-Games and a pair of characters that are never seen, only heard (Morty and Wife) both hopelessly out of touch with whats happening around them. One of my main characters is Stan the ScoutTrooper. He’s just a guy trying to do his job and deal with life on a day to day basis.
My list of characters is ever evolving and they provide me with a wealth of material. They are the stories just waiting to be told. It’s up to me to get the tales I see out of my brain and into being.
As I write this, I have a four inch figure of Commander Cody, from Star Wars fame, sitting on my computer desk. In his hand he’s holding a hologram figure of The Emperor… Now, in the movie, this is a pivotal point in the story where The Emperor orders the Commander to “Execute Order 66….” I see Cody holding this mini version of a tyrant and imagine other thoughts that may be running through his head as he waits for his blow hard of a boss to finish up and let him get back to work. We’ve all been there…