Category Archives: 22 Narrative

Exercise: A narrative picture essay

The brief:

This project requires you to set yourself an assignment and then photograph it. Based on what you have learnt so far, tell a story of any kind, in a set of pictures numbering between 5 and 15. You could photograph an event that you have researched, or you could choose something closer to home and more accessible or controllable. It could even be something as simple as the preparation of some food….

The way in which you lay out the final selection of photographs is very important. In dealing with a number of photographs, it is not simply a matter of deciding on the shape and size of a single image. The whole reason for shooting a variety of images is so that, when seen together, they work together as a set….

Write a short caption under each picture, describing what it shows.

Ever since I was working towards Assignment 4, I have become so cognizant of shadows and the play of light that I have taken to photographing things I would not normally have bothered with before. Which I think is a good thing. I think Kumi Yamashita made more of an impact on me than I realised.

This past month has been rather traumatic for me for personal family reasons which I won’t go into here, but my life has been through some dark patches during this time.  I’ve chosen to do this photo narrative in an abstract form (really stepping out of my comfort zone here) to reflect this period of my life as a means of catharsis. I’m calling it “Shadow Diary of My Day”.


the day begins ...

the day begins …
f5.6. 1/500, 35mm, ISO 100

Kitchen Shadows

and so does the daily routine
f5.6, 1/500, 35mm, ISO 100

and the worries

… and the worries
f5.6, 1/250, 55mm, ISO 100

morning perspective ...

morning perspective …
f5.6, 1/640, 55mm, ISO 100

a pause - one last look back ...

a pause – one last look back …
f8, 1/200, 50mm, ISO 100

... off to the hospital

… off to the hospital
f8, 1/320, 42mm, ISO 100

an uphill battle ...

an uphill battle …
f8, 1/250, 65mm, ISO 100

afternoon perspective ...

afternoon perspective …
f8, 1/250, 110mm, ISO 100

Home at last

home at last
f8, 1/250, 145mm, ISO 100

It was my birthday last week

… it was my birthday last week …
f8, 1/60, 80mm, ISO 200

and now we wait ...

and now we wait …
f8, 1/200, 26mm, ISO 100

... the day draws to an end

… the day draws to an end
f8, 1/60, 50mm, ISO 100

I have also created a PDF book for the photo essay (Ex 41 Narrative and Illustration Shadow Diary book reduced). Its nothing fancy, but I just wanted to convey the linear flow a little better.

Very little post processing has been done. It was mainly confined to adding and/or removing a little contrast and adding some clarity. On the two images containing grass (“a pause – one last look back …” and “… the day draws to an end”) I have reduced the vibrance and desaturated the images slightly to better fit in with the muted shades of rest of the set.


Freeman, Michael (2012). The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrative. Lewes, England: The Ilex Press.