The Art of Storytelling

by Sarah Hayes

I have always been drawn to images and films that capture the imagination through the use of visual storytelling.  There are photographer’s renown for their stylized ability to transform their subject matter into entities from worlds only conceived in our dreams.

I recently picked up a copy of Brooke Shaden’s book ‘Inspiration in Photography, Train your mind to make great art a habit.’  Although Shaden is known for her heavy use of compositing, her book is refreshingly personable and full of useful information to guide the photographer, who aspires to increase the visual narrative within their photography.

Shaden discusses the importance of using props, costumes, locations and the creation of characters within the concept of an image. One aspect of the book I really appreciate, is the ‘practical pointers’ included at the end of each section and the sharing of useful websites that can aid with location scouting. I feel that the advice Shaden shares with her readers is humble and achievable for every photographer, especially those of us on a tight budget. She makes the dream worlds accessible to all, specifically to those prepared to commit to specific narrative.

The book is full of Brooke Shaden’s fantastical melancholic imagery that is used to support her advice and demonstrate the opportunities, accessible to all innovative photographers. Shaden concludes her book with her ‘Final Word’ …

“If you can imagine something, it can be your reality. That is why photography us such a powerful tool. It gives us a medium with which we can bear our souls, tell the stories of our dreams, or live the life we always wanted to live. It is a vehicle for change, a carrying pigeon of hope, and most importantly, it gives people a voice who might otherwise feel silenced.” (Shaden 186)

Work Cited

Shaden, Brooke. Inspiration in Photography: Training Your Mind to Make Great Art a Habit. N.p.:

Focal, 2014. Print.

Shaden, Brooke. Shaden: Gallery. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2017.