Walking on the street and taking pictures is nice, but after some years I felt I needed to do more, I needed to tell something not just representing what's around me.
I needed and stil need to tell a story with my photos.
Some months ago I attended a course about Reportage with a great photoreporter, Alessandro Gandolfi, at Officine Fotografiche Milano. There I discovered the world of reportage, great stories and I started to realize that telling a story with your images is really hard.
First of all it requires preparation, a lot of pre-work. You need to think about the story, what you want to tell... it should be easy, but you will start thinking about stupid things, not so attractive and you tend to tell something for the sake of telling something not because you need it or you are really interested in that story.
So first of all the what.
A story should be first of all of your main interest, it should come from your curiosity, you should be eager to tell this story to others and to yourself. Asking questions to yourself helps a lot...
What is your main interest? What is your pain? What your feeling? Who is that man on the street so weird? What is the story behind that magnificent church?... and so on... ask yourself the most stupid, the most difficult, questions and you will start finding some stories.
And that's only the very first step. Then you need to do some research and study, read, walk, investigate, learn... understand all you can about that place, that man, that situation, about that story.
From all the stories just choose one, only one, the one that is the most interesting for you, and ask again yourself... "Telling this story is really important for me?" and if yes ask yourself "Will be of interest for somebody else?"
If yes then you can start with the how..
Ah and if you are looking for examples of reportage start from the most famous photo reporters like James Nachtwey, Robert Capa, Lindsey Addario, Steve Mcurry... but I would suggest W Eugene Smith as first.
Photographies as catalyst to thought... isn't that great? And you can feel it from some of his most touching photos.
Country Doctor is one of the first reportage in the history not related to a war or a big event, just telling the story of a doctor and at the same time telling the story of an entire nation, the United States, in the 50's.
Next post I will touch the how, so stay tuned ;-)