August 27, 2010 Erin Sutherland

Picture Story: Successes, and perhaps a failure.

It’s that time of year again – my blog will be hijacked for not one, but two classes this semester. I considered not using this blog for class, but then I thought that it might spark some interesting inspiration or conversation from readers. (If there are any readers.)

My first assignment for Picture Story (or capstone, as the undergrads call it) is to list some picture stories that I’ve seen that either work or don’t work, things that inspire and influence, and write a little about each.

1. The first I thought of immediately was by a colleague in DC, Amanda Lucidon. (No, not Amanda Lucier, the MU grad.) It’s a picture story of a deaf dancer. How much harder can you get in illustrating the non-visual concept? While I feel like the story could probably go for a tighter edit, I think the point is brought across to show that yeah, she’s different – deaf – but she still does everything that any normal ten-year old would do. Being able to tell a non-visual story (or a one-photo literal story as in this case) is an incredible talent. Perhaps someday I’ll give it a try.

2. I’m sure everyone will link to this story by Maisie Crow. It won (did it really win, or was it just a contender?) for CPOY, and it deserves all the attention the story has received since publication. It’s simple, beautiful, and so moving. Every time I look at the images, I want to cry. I can feel the love and loss in every frame. Somewhere, there’s an article about her experience photographing this story. It’s worth a read. This story also inspires me to try and find a touching, personal story someday. I mean, really personal. In depth. Caring. Illuminating life. It’s a lofty goal, but I’ll get there eventually. LIFE ALONE

3. So, for my third story I wanted to find something that did well in a contest, but if I were a judge, I would have voted it out. I came across this one from CPOY 59 by a guy named Denis Rochefort from RIT. The story won an award of excellence. While I really like the opening frame, it just seems like a collection of photographs taken on a night out. It seems like there’s possibility for a great story in a club that’s drug and alcohol free, where kids can just be kids. But for me, there’s something missing. I’m interested to see what others think in class.