Every picture yada yada yada

Every picture tells a story.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Yep, we’ve all heard these before.

I guess I’ve been afforded the luxury of posting images on Instagram with accompanying words. Heck, the words were what dictated my shots when I first started posted. Silly little puns. Silly little puns, with a silly little photo to accompany them.

This is one of the first things I now have to modify when thinking about shooting for an exhibition as opposed to shooting for Instagram. On Instagram, my shot doesn’t need to explain it’s self. It is captioned. It’s subtitled for the pun deciphering challenged.

Yeah, sure, sometimes I’ve had to explain the occasional caption to a few. I know, the phrases “attire” and “a tyre”, despite sounding the same, ARE spelled differently. And yes, the concept of a couple of mobile phones getting married and, despite a lacklustre ceremony, having a great reception might be a little hard to grasp. Sometimes puns are hard!

But I’ve rarely posted a shot with a story or message embedded in the shot. I’ve never really thought of a shot as having a story within it. Well, not without either verbalising the subplot or writing it as accompanying caption.

Yet now, as I begin planning shots for the exhibition, the notion that the picture tells a story, is at the forefront of my planning process. Sure, my fellow exhibitor Christoffer is considering accompanying his shots with a short story. That’s his thing, and he does it so well. I could add an explanation below each of my photos in the gallery. But I don’t want to. I really want to portray a narrative within each shot. I really want to explore the idea of story telling through a single image. And even if each visitor doesn’t perceive the story I intended, I’ll be happy. I’d like them to deduce their own account of my photos hanging on the gallery walls.

I remember visiting the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) when studying art to see an exhibition of The Masters, Botticelli, Leonardo, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Monet etc.

Although many years have passed since then, one thing that sticks in my memory is the scene of a group of children, maybe nine or ten years old, being lead from painting to painting by an accompanying adult. I can only assume this chap was their primary school art teacher. At each painting Mr Teacher, asked the group what they thought the painting was about, and with each child’s recount of their thoughts, he would then elaborate his own interpretation, almost dismissing the children’s.

I don’t want to narrate my photo and force the viewer to think what I was thinking when I set up, shot and edited the photo. I don’t want to be Mr Teacher to them. I do however, want them to be the inspiration that I discovered that day at the NGV. I want them to be the little girl that upon enduring another of Mr Teacher’s lavish explanations of what the group of children should actually be feeling when they looked at a particular painting, retorted, “I like the colour red”!

"I like the colour red!"

“I like the colour red!”

That little girl has been an inspiration to me ever since that day. From that day, I’ve liked the colour red too. That wonderful innocence of a child that refused to be told what she should feel, but instead spouted “I like the colour red” and in that succinct moment summed up what viewing art should be. It shouldn’t be what you’re told to see. It should be what you see.

So, with this in mind, will a shot I’m considering of a Lego zombie dressed as artist, painting plain white minifigures to become roaming CMF series one zombies hold up as a photo on it’s own. Does it need words? Will I need to explain it to visitors to the exhibition?

Artist at work


Will I need to be Mr Teacher?

Or will visitors also like the colour red?