Visual Storytelling that melts our harts
The word “storytelling” is now on everyone’s lips: but what exactly is storytelling? From my point of view, it isnt’ anything other than a story, with its characters, its plot, its world and its moral. Those that touch us more are the stories that shake us and reassure us through the identification.
The story becomes even more immediate and stronger, whether it is proposed through the use of images; the oldest great communication vehicle, the most visceral, like a bullet that goes straight to our feelings and leave us a sign.
Here it is, the precise reason why the visual stories – knows as visual storytelling – goes so well with social issues. This powerful boost communication, that can sharp as a slap in the face, opening the drawers of empathy and compassion, not sad and pathetic words as it could sound, but rather the most authentic characteristics of being “human”: the ability to understand (cum-prehendere, welcome together) living conditions and the state of mind of another person.
Visual storytelling seems then to be one of the best ways to convey strong messages, important and shared, with the purpose of making the difference. However, this doesn’t mean necessarily associate this communication channel to violent or dramatic thematics, indeed, the stories that most sneak into the hearts and minds of the people are “evasive” ones.
Like the story, a few years ago, of the “The tutu project” told by photographer Bob Carey, who combine irony and paradox, who approached the audience on a topic which is discussed too much: breast cancer. Carey’s project wasn’t born with this purpose at the really beginning; initially, he intended to finance a dance company and from that the project was born, the common thread that unites different images in different contexts, that is the bright pink tutu grotesquely worn by the author . When his wife became ill, the “narrator” has decided that the story had to have a moral, he had the felling to tell something more concrete and since then the project has turned into a fundraiser, Carey asked for help to the network and organized a real campaign. A story that continues nowadays.
Another story, not very recent but still very effective that is worth to be mentioned as an example of pure evasive storytelling with a social goal, is the case narrated by the American photographer Theron Humphrey. Again the story was created for completely different reasons: it was meant to be as a trip, no more and no less, if not for one specific fact: the co-star was a wonderful very quite hybrid dog that literally “stays where you put her”. This is the case of good start brings the story to multiple narrative levels and then continue in parallel independently.
The initial storytelling was suppost to ben “This Wild Idea”, an adventure across 50 states in the USA, with a van and four-legged friend, knowing a new person in a different city every day. Than the story has evolved in the photographic series “Maddie on things”, which is the story of the same journey but no longer through the people they met along the way, but through Maddie’s photos literally on top of things.
Understanding the big potential of the story, especially through Instagram, Humphrey starts a third story: since the photographer had adopted the dog after being abandoned, who’s better testimonial for this project, called “Why We Rescue”, the stories of 50 dogs adopted and came back to life thanks to the affection of the new owners?
Two fundamentally different stories told by those Carey and Humphrey, that have in common not only the fact be born at first for other purposes, but the chosen a light “voice”, purposeful, without devaluing the important message .
The images of both projects take us away, in a surreal narratives. We understand the true value, these stories intrigue us, arouse sympathy in us drawing our attention to important issues. They call us directly. With simplicity and without presumption, they bring us to become aware of a problem, pushing us naturally to tell their stories ourselves.
The Tutu Project | This Wild Idea | Maddie on Things | Why We Rescue