Luca De Massis, who originally hails from a humble town in the Italian countryside has climbed the ranks in the photography world. De Massis took a risk at age 19 and moved to America with very little money to pursue his passion. During his childhood, he’d walk through the Italian countryside when he could slip away from his responsibilities as a member of a working class family. He’d been inspired by the beautiful scenery, from the country mountains to the Mediterrenean Sea. He could often be seen as a young boy walking aimlessly with a camera to capture anything and everything.
Stories are integral to human culture and storytelling is timeless. In photographic practice, visual storytelling is often called a ‘photo essay’ or ‘photo story’. It’s a way for a photographer to narrate a story with a series of photographs. What few people realise is there’s a difference between photography, and visual storytelling through photography.
There are many reasons that I love photography, not the least of which is that a photograph (or a series of them) has the ability to convey stories to those that view them. Over the centuries people have gathered around campfires, in town squares, over meals and in other places to tell their stories and these gatherings have become central to the shaping of cultures and communities. In more recent times some people have lamented that the art of story telling has been lost amidst the rise of different technologies says Luca De Massis.
Photography has been used as a way of telling stories for as long as the medium has existed. In its simplest form, a single photo in a newspaper fits into this category. One image attempting to capture the essence of the written story sharing its page. In it’s longer form, a series of photos tells a larger story.
He says, planning is one of the most important parts of visual storytelling. You must plan in advance how are you going to visualize the story you have in your mind. The planning process should include selecting the topic, doing a research on the topic and planning your shots – they should be very diverse and visually appealing. You should also consider using some symbols in your images in order to convey your message more clearly.
No matter how brilliant your storytelling pictures are in terms of their technical properties, they also have to have a strong emotional impact on your viewers. Not all images must contain a human figure or human interaction to be emotionally strong. In fact, they can contain anything from a landscape to abstract visuals – the only thing that matters is that they can evoke strong emotions in the viewer’s heart.
A photograph will capture & freeze a moment in time whilst conveying an emotion, expressing a mood, sharing an idea & telling a narrative. All key elements of storytelling.
Originality might seem like an overrated concept, but it’s quite important especially in storytelling photography. It’s hard to come up with an original scenario that can truly entertain your viewers. It’s challenging to create something unique with billions of images that can be seen everywhere these days. However, it’s a great practice to strive for originality and stand out from the crowd whenever possible Luca said.
Fear of failure is linked to fear of rejection and criticism from others, as well as procrastination. Stop thinking like this and free yourself from those negative thoughts. It’s perfectly normal and healthy to fail. All successful people have failed; it’s part of improving and the gateway to success. The same principle applies to photography. Failing will help you understand the formula that works best for you and will eventually pay off in your work with some persistence and dedication to succeed. Go, shoot, fail and grow he quoted.