Visual Narrative and Photography

With visual narratives, a story can be conveyed through a single image or a series of images. They not only reflect but can shape our daily experiences, our thoughts, and even our values. They can present information, demand our attention, and construct our realities. Discover the types and purposes of visual narratives, and the tools to effectively construct your own. This five-lesson series focuses on the art of storytelling through photography.

Unit 1 - Visual Narative and Photography lessons

Introduction to Visual Narratives: Definitions and Purposes

Begin your exploration with a focus on the power and the purposes of visual narratives in photography. The questions for inquiry are: What is a “visual narrative?” and for what purposes do artists create visual narratives?

The “Visuals” in Visual Narratives

Identify photography skills that lead to effective visuals by analyzing the work of other artists. Then try incorporating new techniques and ways of expression into your own photography.

Imagination and Visual Narrative

Explore how the traditional elements of narrative fiction can be found in photography, using examples from the Getty collection. Then explore imaginative narratives, and practice turning them into visual storyboards.

Information and Visual Narrative

Consider the elements of informational text and narrative nonfiction writing and how they can apply to images. Then analyze how narrative nonfiction elements are found in photography, using examples from the Getty collection. Finally, study how photographs that document real situations can powerfully motivate social activism.

Visuals and Narratives

Applying skills gained from other lessons in this series, create a final project that expresses your views about an issue important to you by experimenting with visual storytelling and text-based non-fiction narratives.