Telling a story in pictures
As we build up to the launch of the IdeasTap Photographic Award, Magnum Photos’ Sophie Wright explains how to create a narrative with pictures
Magnum Photos was founded as a co-operative in 1947 by the photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour.
It was established to give its photographers independence from the magazines, by retaining authorship of their images. Today, the agency they formed represents over 70 photographers and estates worldwide, with offices in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.
Sophie Wright is Cultural and Print Room Director in Magnum’s London office. Here she tells us about the power of photo essays to tell stories.
Photo essays give the viewer an insight into a story that they may never have been able to access before. In the days before television, they were the main means of visual news distribution.
Today, the means to present the news has diversified to include web-based platforms, containing words, images and audio, such as Magnum in Motions, but traditionally they were a static series of images, the narrative built up by the photographer and/or picture editor, often to accompany an article, but sometimes reproduced by themselves, to tell a story about a particular subject.
With image transmission so fast-paced these d
ays, this classic approach still retains a lot of power; a selection of pictures on the walls of a gallery or in a magazine is something that someone can spend time with and contemplate.