One of my clients recently reminded me of the importance of storytelling. Sounds a bit daft, but when you shoot almost every day for whatever reason, you sometimes forget to notice what other people identify in your work.
My Grandad was the worlds best storyteller. Infact, I based one of my second year uni projects around him doing just this. The project was no doubt very poorly executed (it was nearly 10 years ago, gah) and at this point I'd never really put a camera to my eye, apart from holiday snaps.
I asked him to talk to me about the places he used to live.
My idea was then to go out to these places and photograph what they looked like now, to see if they still matched up with his descriptions. The project was presented as an audio recording, with some photography. Here's a photo of Grandad mid-flow:
(Please ignore the colour correction, grain, blow out etc etc, thats not whats important at this stage)
I am a bit of a stickler for honesty. It will get me in trouble from time to time. My boyfriend says its a good feature but also a curse. The argument of honesty and authenticity always haunts me in my work.
I recently had the conversation with two photography friends: 'how honest can we really be as photographers?'
Grandad loved to tell his stories to an audience, so when my brother and I were dropped round for babysitting when we were younger, he knew he had one. We would joke about how his stories change every time he tells them.
With Grandad, it didnt matter if the story was accurate, we would listen either way.
What mattered to me and my brother was the art of storytelling, feeling like you had this great experince and connection with Grandad as he shared these fleeting memories with you. What mattered to him was that his memory of the story was a fond one.
So I suppose I have been fortunate to grow up with storytelling and now its become my profession, through photographs.
I wonder if I realised what an impact Grandad's stories would have on me at the time.
Thanks Grandad for teaching me the art of story telling x