Photo as Narrative

Fri 28th Oct

Implicit: implied; absolute; suggests what it is

Explicit: fully and clearly expressed

How can these terms relate to photography and to the construction of images?

Photographer: Antonio Massiello

Seeing is believing

  • subjective and objective analysis
    • what can I actually see and what do I want to see? – Implicit or explicit?
  • ‘camera never lies’
    • photography is a powerful medium – people will believe what they see

Content VS context

  • need context to read content correctly
  • editing photos can change the original context

Task: who are they/explicit

In pairs, create an explicit portrait that says something about their personality

Likes/dislikes/who inspires you/best moment of your life so far/what annoys you

Partner: Sam

Her personality: best moment; mexico – pirate ship/likes; piano, games/hates; vegetables/annoys her; obvious questions/inspired by; susan bradley

My personality: best moment; India/likes; the beach, people, alcohol/dislikes; really bad habits, politics – love/hate relationship/annoys me; unnecessary noise/inspired by; Barbara Kruger


Below are the images that we took.

My ideas for Sam’s portrait is that she has a really lovely and bubbly personality and is always smiling though she said that she can be quite an angry person so I wanted to photograph Sam smiling but then in her eyes said something different they she was actually say ‘f*ck you’ to the person she may be talking to.

With my images, during the discussion I kept going back and forth between ideas which Sam said that I seem like quite an indecisive person which is really true so Sam had the idea of photography me with two different emotions then merging them together to make it look like I could make a decision.

Editing the images


This is my explicit portrait of Sam. I think the image itself works really well and you can really read the emotion I am trying to convey. I wanted to have the image black and white except the read jumper as the colour ‘red’ can convey emotion of both anger and warmth. It’s really strong image and works great.



For my portrait Sam tried a couple of things. We thought maybe merging the two images together so it was half and half of emotions but it didn’t look right and didn’t convey indecisiveness at all. Another idea was using India as a way showing personality as that trip did shape who I am now a lot; using the happy image, Sam put a lot of colours on it to show the colourfulness of India but it didn’t really work as it just looked like a picture of me smiling with some bright colours over it – not conveying India at all or an aspect of my personality. So back to the idea of showing my indecisiveness, Sam took of image of me stood in front of a map moving my head showing that I didn’t know where to go. This is image worked a lot better and it’s what we used as our final image.

(Images below)

Final image:



Author: ellenreiddesign

First year Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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