By Sheree Pratt
What could a photographer possibly have to offer a room, packed full of writers? Our most recent speaker, Photographer and former journalist for the Bendigo Advertiser and Australian Geographic publications, Brendan McCarthy commenced his talk with that exact question.
The first half of the February 21st session was a showcase of some of McCarthy’s notable works, each accompanied with a story, of experiences surrounding the shots’ mise-en-scène, purposes for the shot and short synopsis of the article for which some photos supported.
As a group we explored elements of narrative including character, and situation. Things like where and how to find the story, creating and developing the story and letting the story evolve were discussed.
The group also debated the role of Photoshop in manipulation the story, determining that it often jeopardises the authenticity of the story, the credibility of the photograph and often the integrity and the storyteller, such as journalists, editors and photographers.
The workshop in the second half of the session was an opportunity for writers to unpack the visual elements of a shot to interpret meaning to find or create the story. Who was the man in the photograph with the hat? What was he doing there? What’s going on in the background? Where are they? These were just some of the questions that sparked our written exploration.
The activity revealed the way personal perspective influenced the interpretation of visual stimuli to generate a story.
The commonality, we concluded throughout this exploration, what writers and photographers share is that in our craft we are each storytellers.