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The Photographic Essay

  1. 1. ...words and pictures can work together to communicate more powerfully than either alone. - William Albert Allard, Photographic Essay (American Photographer Master Series) by William Albert Allard
  2. 2. What is a Photo Essay?  Creating a photo essay is a combination of art and journalism.  As with a written essay, the elements of a photo essay should be structured in a way that easily conveys a story to the viewer.  Each individual photo contributes to the overall story, theme, and emotions of the essay.  The photos you choose must not only be compositionally and artistically strong, but also informative and educational.
  3. 3. Two Types of Photographic Essays  Narrative  tells a sequential story  Thematic  focuses on a central theme
  4. 4. Elements of a Photo Essay  The story- Your essay should be able to stand alone, without a written article, and make logical sense to the viewer.  A range of photos: A variety of photos (wide angle, detailed, portraits etc.) should be included.  The order of the photos: It is important that the order of your photos effectively tell a story, in an interesting and logical sequence.  Information and emotion: Your photos should include both informational and emotional photos.  Captions: In a photo essay, captions are your best opportunity to describe what is happening in words and ensure that the viewer understands.
  5. 5. Types of Photos  By including a variety of types of photos in your essay, you will ensure that it is both interesting and informative.  Not only is it important to choose powerful photos, but also to present them in an effective order.
  6. 6. The Lead Photo  Similar to the first two sentences of a newspaper article, your lead photo should effectively draw in your audience.  This is usually the most difficult photo to choose and should follow the theme of your essay.  It could be an emotional portrait or an action shot, but ultimately it should provoke the curiosity of the viewer.
  7. 7. The Scene  Your second photo should set the stage and describe the scene of your story.  An overarching photo taken with a wide angle lens is often effective.
  8. 8. Portraits  Your photo essay should include at least one portrait.  Capturing an emotional expression or telling action shot can effectively humanize your story.  These photos often evoke strong emotions and empathy in the viewer (whether it is a positive and enthusiastic emotion, or a sympathetic and concerned emotion.)
  9. 9. Detail Photos  Detail photos focus in on one element, be it a building, a face, or a relevant object.  These photos are your best opportunity to capture specific objects.  The captions of these photos should be informative and educational.
  10. 10. Close-Up Photos  Similarly, close-up photos provide an opportunity to focus in on specific objects.  These photos are tightly cropped, simple shots that present a specific element of your story.  Again, this is an excellent opportunity to present information in the caption.
  11. 11. The Signature Photo  The signature photo summarizes the situation and captures the key elements of your story in a telling moment.
  12. 12. The Clincher Photo  The final photo, the clincher, should evoke the emotion you want the viewer to walk away with, be it a feeling of hope, inspiration, or sadness.  Decide on this mood before you select this photo.
  13. 13. Order of Photos  While the order of some photos (e.g. the lead photo, and the clincher) is set, the order of most types of photos in your essay is your preference.
  14. 14. Photographer Brooks Kraft captures the Chinese president's historic meeting with Obama
  15. 15. Welcoming Ceremony Hu and Obama are saluted by an honor guard on the South Lawn.
  16. 16. Places, Please Members of a military honor guard mark positions for flag holders.
  17. 17. Playing in the Band A military honor guard marches past the jungle gym erected on the South Lawn.
  18. 18. Marks The two presidents stand in their positions on the reviewing stand.
  19. 19. Rope Line Obama and Hu shake hands in the crowd.
  20. 20. Protest Across the street from the White House, demonstrators gathered to call attention China's treatment of Tibet.
  21. 21. Across the Divide Obama and Hu shake hands at a joint news conference.
  22. 22. Panoramic Press and international media from both countries attended a joint press conference.
  23. 23. Handy Hu looks at his notes during the press conference.
  24. 24. Listening A Chinese journalist attends the press conference.
  25. 25. Black Tie The Obamas wait in the White House portico to greet Hu before the state dinner.
  26. 26. What's on family dinner tables around the globe? Photographs by Peter Menzel from the book "Hungry Planet”
  27. 27. Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25 Favorite foods: sashimi, fruit, cake, potato chips
  28. 28. Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11 Favorite foods: fish, pasta with ragu, hot dogs, frozen fish sticks
  29. 29. Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23 Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat
  30. 30. Kuwait: The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City Food expenditure for one week: 63.63 dinar or $221.45 Family recipe: Chicken biryani with basmati rice
  31. 31. United States: The Revis family of North Carolina Food expenditure for one week: $341.98 Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken
  32. 32. Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09 Favorite foods: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken
  33. 33. China: The Dong family of Beijing Food expenditure for one week: 1,233.76 Yuan or $155.06 Favorite foods: fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce
  34. 34. Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27 Family recipe: Pig's knuckles with carrots, celery and parsnips
  35. 35. Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53 Family recipe: Okra and mutton
  36. 36. Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo Food expenditure for one week: $31.55 Family recipe: Potato soup with cabbage