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Storytelling In Photography (and 'Chimping')

We often hear in photography people ask "what's the story" or "what are you trying to say" or "I don't understand the message". People are always looking for the 'story' in photographs.


The great Garry Winogrand said, “I don’t have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph.....”

While I agree many photographs do tell a story, I don't understand why they have to. Why can't a photograph just be an image of something-and that's it? Why does it have to tell a story?

I'm not saying it shouldn't, I'm just asking why it should have to.

There are some incredible street photographers out there who create images that make the viewer ask many questions. Trying to work out 'the story' can be a lot of fun.    Then there are other street photographers (like myself) who just want to create images that are of what they/I see at the time. No story, no meaning, just a photograph.

I really don't believe anything is devalued as a photograph just because there is no 'meaning' to it. 

It just seems to me to be yet another 'rule' of photography that gets pushed to make certain people feel superior - a bit like 'chimping'.

For those that don't know, 'chimping' is constantly looking at the back of the camera after making images. In street photography it is considered a cardinal sin to do it! The argument is, that if your checking the back of the screen every few minutes then you are missing opportunities to shoot other things. Now while I agree that is obviously true, I also agree with Garry Winogrand again when he said something like "there are no missed photographs". In other words you might be making a photo of a someone who looks like a rock star walking past you but behind you there might be someone in a gorilla suit taking thier duck for a walk that you didn't see!

You can't photograph everything.

There is always something you are going to miss. You can have your settings correct, your camera in your hand and be looking everywhere, but you can't see round corners and you can't see behind you, or what's going on in the next street. 

Just shoot what you can , and 'chimp' if you want to (just not all the time, eh?) :)

Keep on shooting

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