Book Project: #16 Narrative


While I was taking pictures the purpose of the individual shots was clear, yet it remained to be seen how they would all fit together to form the story.  I had several components of culture (e.g., language, represented as multi-lingual signs; expression, represented through artworks, architecture, religious symbols, etc.) to orchestrate but I lacked a way to bring these pieces together into a cohesive story; a narrative.   

Pondering the idea of globalization, and all its facets, I came to realise that the change in our family over the last 100 years was representative in-the-small of the larger globalization process. It occurred me that wedding pictures reflected the core changes in our family’s composition over that period in an accessible way and were inclusive of many of the themes I wanted to cover (diversification; historical influences; migration, etc.).

I laid out on the table, in four rows, the images expressing the different lines of thought, using the wedding pictures as the spine of the story.  It quickly became clear that the other lines — those related to understanding and architecture — were difficult to link in. I didn’t have the photography that made the connection, and the story lines they conveyed were too far removed from what was becoming the core.  Thus these themes were dropped.    This decision simplified matters greatly.

A second observation related to gaps in the narrative conveyed by the wedding pictures. The series was without context; I felt it needed to be introduced and specifically the characters in the story.  This idea of characters is similar to Robert Frank’s approach for the Americans.  

In his book, Structure of the Visual Book, Keith Smith offers a method to represent the structure of content within a book.  This system is good to explain and define different structuring approaches. I found for my purposes, however, one like the above that included the actual images facilitated the assessment.   

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