Sorry to beat a dead horse – (no pun intended) but I want to show you this photo one more time because it gave me an idea for a teachable moment.
I get lots of questions at Photofocus about story. People hear me say – “Make photographs that tell a story” and end up being confused. “What do you mean tell a story?” they will ask – or “How do you know when your photos tell a story?”
This may help clear up some confusion. The simple answer is that you have to know what you’re subject is. You have to know what the picture is about. You have to decide what story you want to tell. You have to know what it is you’re photographing.
What is the subject of the above photograph? Is it the barn? You might be tempted to say it’s the horses. Well actually, the subject is simple – companionship. Look at the next photo shot a mere few seconds after the one at the top of the post.
This is a picture of the same two horses but now the subject is no longer companionship – it’s just two horses.
Now look at the third photo. It was taken just a few seconds later. Now the subject is loneliness.
Look at each photo opportunity as a chance to tell a story. As the photographer, the story is up to you. You get to decide what story you want to tell. Just remember, when you look at the photograph, make sure you can identify the appropriate subject/story.