The ideas are truly for a photographic essay are limitless.
Remember that story telling takes practice. You don’t have to be an incredible writer to pull off a powerful photo essay. All you need is a bit of photographic technique, some creativity, and a lot of heart. And once you begin taking pictures in stories, your images will never be the same.
This post inspired me to start my website of photo essays. My current ongoing series is about a band I went on tour with and the different things I learned and encountered:
On January 27th, 2011, Dominic Nahr began documenting mass protests in Cairo that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak and ignited similar struggles throughout the middle east. This multimedia photo essay combines many unpublished images by Nahr woven with audio he recorded from Tahrir Square. Dominic Nahr was commisioned by TIME to do this reportage.Your students, if they’re anything like mine, love to communicate through images—photos on Instagram, GIFs shared in a text, photo stories on Snapchat. And yet, so much of our conversation in school revolves around words. Understanding text is critical to students’ success now and in the future. But do we also help students identify, read and understand images in order to become literate in the visual language that is all around us? The photo essay can be a great middle or high school assignment that will have strong appeal and grow your students’ writing skills.Here are some examples of Photo Essays. You will use InDesign to create pages that look something like these. You will take a variety of photos (at least 36) and choose at least 5 of those photos to use in your photo essay. The photos should tell a story about the event/subject. You should not have photos of people just looking at the camera. Photo essays can feature text through articles and descriptions, or they can stand alone with simple captions to give context. The versatility of photo essays has helped the medium become a part of our culture for centuries, from the American Civil War to modern environmental disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This versatility is also what makes the photo essay a great educational asset in classrooms today; teachers can use them in any content area. Math students can use them to show a geometric concept in real life. Science students can document a chemistry process at home. Auto students can photograph the technique—and joys and frustrations—of learning a new procedure.What Is a Photo Essay?
For those who aren’t familiar with the term “photo essay,” have no fear. A photo essay, in its simplest form, is a series of pictures that evokes an emotion, presents an idea or helps tell a story. You’ve been exposed to photo essays for your entire life—possibly without even knowing it. For example, you may have seen Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother:DIY Photographs
Before giving a formal photo essay assignment, give students an opportunity to practice and receive feedback. Consider presenting students with several open-ended, ungraded challenges like “For class tomorrow, take a photo that depicts Struggle.” Other possible photo topics: chaos, frustration, friendship, school. Have students email you their photo homework and share it as a slideshow. Talk about the images. Do they convey the theme?