Single Picture Stories

11 June 2018

SIG: Contemporary

As a group ethos the Contemporary SIG tends to encourage photographers to think about building sets of images to make a point about something.  An image I saw in today’s newspapers had me thinking about the challenges of telling stories with a single image.  This image by Jesco Denzel/ Getty Images is incredible and makes a point very quickly. 

Other examples of single images with strong messages that come to mind are the “Shell-Shocked US Marine” image from the 1968 battle of Hue by Sir Don McCullin CBE HonFRPS as seen in the latest RPS Journal and Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” taken as part of a project for the US Farm Security Administration in 1936.

What are your most memorable single images “about” something?


Image of The Times, Monday 11th June 2018

Comments (2)

17 June 2018

Good choice - that Nick Ut image is a very memorable one indeed.

Interesting thought about the Migrant Mother not being particularly memorable without context. That can be said about many images I now think of as quite strong - for example I didn't understand Alec Soth's work at all until I was lucky enough to have a curator led tour of a major exhibition in London several years ago. On their own some of his images don't stand out, but put them in a series and start to notice the links...

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12 June 2018

Mine would be images of war, particularly the naked very young girl fleeing from napalm (I think) in Vietnam. I am not sure about ‘Migrant Mother’ being a memorable image by itself; it carries so much background understanding. If I think of it and wipe all other knowledge from my mind, does it still convey a meaning? Or is it then Just a mother with a child and a baby?

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