The Benefits of the Back Story

We all know that our photography at its best can stand on its own – no jazzy or snazzy music, no cheesy frames or doohicky slideshows.  However, some of our best (and worst) photos also come with some pretty incredible stories.  Just one read through Joe McNally’s “The Moment It Clicks” will give you unique insight into how setting the stage or giving some insider perspective on a photo or body of work can both add value and meaning.

A while back, I posted a photo with the title “The Boneyard and the Back Story”.  In that post, the story was in the obstacles that had to be overcome to achieve the photo.  For a nostalgic look back, you can read that entire post here.  Since it’s been a while, I’d like to revisit this idea of sharing more photos along with their back story with everyone.

The Road to Folly Beach

The Road to Folly Beach

The back story isn’t nearly as glamorous as my previous one, but telling nonetheless.  While this may seem to be a pretty cool shot of a sunset in a marina area, what makes it more meaningful to me is that this was taken in South Carolina.  The dichotomy?  Sunset – on the east coast!  Usually sunrises are associated with facing east and sunsets are facing west, so catching a shot like this at sunset in SC was particularly pleasurable.

How did it happen?  Through networking of course!  When I used to live in SC, a few friends and I started a photo club in the area.  It became relatively successful with a peak membership of 40-50 members.  It still exists today but I do not participate to the same extent that I used to.  Well, a young guy joined the club as he started learning and studying landscape photography.  He lived in the area near this scene and knew of it.  After tracking the sunsets for some time (at least a year or so, which is impressive enough), he knew the time of year to visit and capture images much like the ne above.  Not only did he share this knowledge willingly, but he also invited me to go capture the scene with him one evening.

From my perspective, it was a successful shoot!  But, what about the rest of the audience?  Does it work for you?  What about your own photos and back stories?  Feel free to share links to images and your own stories with the blog either in the comments or with me via email.    Don’t have any yet?  Then make that your next assignment – go in search of a photo and journal the back story!  In the meantime, happy shooting (and story making!)!  We’ll see you again tomorrow.  Don’t forget the September Giveaway with that huge prize package of the Thinktank Photo bag System and Topaz Labs Plugin Collection.  The Flickr thread is open and ready for business!

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4 comments for “The Benefits of the Back Story

  1. September 3, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    I agree with you about the back story. I just started a blog a few weeks ago and I have posted two photos by themselves as post. Not only does a back story provide context for the photograph, in my particular example it provides context for my choice of hardware. This provides a wealth of information for the beginning photographer just as the back story here does.
    .-= Mark V´s last blog ..Update – 8/29 =-.

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