Storytelling with photography

If you are active in any photography communities online you've probably heard the word storytelling thrown around a lot. In fact, for most of this year, that word was haunting me daily, not just in photography but in every other area of my life as well. There is a whole other... ahem... story to tell about that, another time.

Anyway, storytelling is one of the current trends in the photography industry. It is something that I really struggle with, especially in my self-portraiture project. I do not feel like I've figured out how to tell a story with just one image, and I do not feel like I've figured out how to tell a story with a series of images either.

I think the series of photos of me walking could tell a story of sorts, but that was accidental.

I feel like most of my self-portraits are a pretty basic formula: here's a photo of Briana (and maybe her dog) in front of trees/a wall/a lake.

I do have a few selfies from this project that I feel could tell a bit of story, but again, they've been accidental. So I'm not sure how to intentionally do this.

I follow several self-portrait artists who create really amazing images that definitely tell stories. But, the common theme seems to be compositing or bringing an unexpected element with them into their shooting environment, like a fancy dress. Someday I’ll do a post where I list these amazing people.

Now, I don't have problems with either of these techniques. The people who do these things are some of my favourite photographers. But, I don't feel like compositing, or wearing dresses, are really my style. Sure, I could cart along a dress into the woods, but it doesn't feel genuine or authentic to me. Dresses are not Briana's style (there is also a whole other story to tell about this in another post, what is femininity). Compositing is super cool, and I would like to get better at it, but it's not something I feel compelled to incorporate into this self-portrait project.

I'm not sure where the story is in this project. Or if there even is one. Maybe I'll find it further along? I don't know. It feels like I'm just taking a series of snapshots, but maybe it is more than that. Maybe its still just to small for me to identify the threads of the story.

Storytelling is something I'd like to get better at. I envy people who can manage to tell stories with a single image.

Do you have any ideas for how to tell a story, or at the very least hint at a story, in a single image?