To be the subject of a story that is compelling requires the subject to be called to a task that is outside their comfort zone. It is necessary for the subject's survival and to the benefit of others.
Donald Miller is a best-selling American author and public speaker based in Portland, Oregon. He writes a great deal about storyline on his blog here http://storylineblog.com/. Miller says that a story is a sense-making device. A good story brings about clarity whereas our normal lives seem disjointed.
Miller uses the parallel of music and how it parallels story. Sounds are just noise until they are put into a form. That form transforms the noise into music. A storyline is no different to Miller. The author has put together a series of events so as to be told through a set form.
This is the basic formula that not only Miller uses to tell many stories but movies like the Hunger Games and Star Wars used.
The very first thing that takes place for a character in a story is a conflict must happen or you will lose the audience.
When you are just enjoying your life and you are doing everything to keep some normalcy into your life this is a sure sign of a boring story.
Here in this sports photo of a quarterback being pursued by what looks like most of the defense and no one between them you have all the makings of the story, minus the ending. The character has a problem of getting tackled. He has trained up to now in practices and with a coaching staff to prepare for this moment. All this is implied with the school team uniform. The task is simple move the ball forward to keep the ball for your team or make a touchdown. The outcome is either a comedy or tragedy.
This is John Howard Griffin transformed as a black man while he was doing the research for his book Black Like Me. Sitting beside Griffin is the photographer Don Rutledge who followed him documenting his trials as a black man in the south. This was done in 1959 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
|John Howard Griffin walking down street in New Orleans.|
Just taking on this project was a story in itself. Not only was Griffin a character in the story, Don Rutledge was also being transformed through the coverage.
I remember Don trying out new camera systems that would stretch him to learn the new system and in doing so it stretched his photography. He was always putting himself in new situations to capture new stories. By the end of his career he had traveled into more than 150+ countries of the world.
Some of the best stories are not the ones that are the big hit on New York Times best books or the blockbusters in Hollywood. The best stories are the ones that are most clearly told.
You see our lives are like run on sentences. What we do throughout our days are often not a great sequence for a story. It is quite disjointed.
A great story starts by establishing the hero of the story and the problem they face going forward.
The best way for you to grow is to get out of your comfort zone.
I am not qualified
Too often you will turn down great opportunities because you feel ill equipped. Hey that is the problem facing Luke Skywalker. He will go off and meet Yoda to train and have him help him with a game plan.
|I bought this Dodge Viper model for $12 and then spent time lighting an all black car to make it interesting. This was my way of challenging myself for a day in the studio.|
Step One—The first thing to grow as a photographer is to find a problem. maybe it is a story that is difficult or maybe it is getting a photo of something from an angle no one has done before. Whatever it is you need to have a problem you need to tackle.
Step Two—Find a guide to help you. This means you either find resources through reading, videos or maybe find someone who can teach you. Most likely the guide you look to will be someone who has been there and done that.
Step Three—Make an action plan on how you will go forward to deal with your problem.
Step Four—Take action. Don't procrastinate. Go and get your feet wet.
Step Five—Evaluate yourself. Was this a comedy or tragedy? It is a good story either way and you will learn something from it that will equip you to go forward.