Visual storytelling; Old deserted fishing boats in the Sound of Mull near Salen, Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Scotland 002

Visual Storytelling; Social Commentary in Pictures

Travel photography is visual storytelling, through a mix of genres including street photography, landscapes, architecture, wildlife, cultural imagery it tells the story of a destination or culture. While travel photographers seek to inspire, this doesn’t necessarily mean producing a series of unfeasibly beautiful images, but also providing a social and historical dialogue.

Photographs can provide the memories of a generation, by freezing moments or even entire eras, they document the passing of time.”

Visual storytelling; Street photography in Baracoa on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory-300-242

Street scene in Cuba

Historical and Cultural Storytelling

We perceive images of past important periods of history, the turn of the century, WWI or WWII, fifties or sixties with nostalgia or fascination. They bring memories to those old enough to remember, while those too young search for the narrative. The architecture, vehicles, fashion and culture of bygone times.

How to tell stories in pictures: Photography Tips; Visual Storytelling

It may not seem instantly obvious that this is travel photography, but even long before the dawn of photography, there have always been travellers. Equally there has always been visual storytelling, providing insight for those separated by distance or time from another culture.

Visual storytelling; Children in the township of Masiphumelele near Cape Town in South Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory-300-80

Masiphumelele township, South Africa

How will future generations view the images captured in the social media era, will they be able to identify with the age of the selfies?

Visual storytelling; Selfie taking by Jordanians on the edge of the Dead Sea in Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain_Mallory_Jordan1408509

Selfie taking; bending cultural boundaries

The rise of digital photography, smartphones, social media and the improvements in camera technology means there is an abundance of imagery available, beyond anything produced in the past. Modern visual storytelling is now available in a myriad of forms, it seems likely that more images have been captured in the past few years, by more photographers than in all the previous years combined.

A humorous view of photography in the modern era: Smoasting all over the World

I was recently involved in a debate about the relevance of street photography, a protagonist claiming the images are boring. Their viewpoint maybe understandable, a standalone street scene can appear boring, without context, but when included as part of a series, they can provide a fascinating social commentary.

Visual storytelling; A merchant transporting his goods to market on a bicycle in Rwanda, Africa, the Land of a Thousand Hills on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain_Mallory_Rwanda-1903

Going to market, Rwanda

Context maybe required to tell the full story, an individual image may tell one side of a story, which is not always clear. However, several images displayed together may provide the missing jigsaw pieces which complete the story.

It may require the viewer to go on a journey, using their imagination to discover the story behind a single image, a series of images or related photographs.

The best of Mallory On Travel: A Travel Photographers Dozen; My Favourite Photos

Visual storytelling; Two stranded and rotting fishing vessels on the shores of the Sound of Mull, near Salen on the Isle of Mull in the highlands and islands of western Scotland on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Scotland 001

Laid to rest

A Tale of Two Boats

I’ve chosen two decrepit vessels on the Isle of Mull to illustrate this point; decaying, rotting hulls just outside the town of Salen. They still appear to have a strange, serene beauty, stubbornly defying the elements and time. Yet, in the height of season many drivers merely continue their journey without giving them a moment’s thought.

Once the pride and joy of their owners, try to imagine the day the builders launched them with pride, or when each owner took delivery of their brand new, shiny boat. Visualise the first time they took to sea, or the first-time full fishing nets were hauled aboard by tired, but eager crews. Consider how many times their crew risked stormy seas, how many times they have been to sea, how often they have returned home fully stocked or with empty fish lockers. How many crewmen or restaurateurs have relied upon them for a living and how many families have been fed by their catches.

Visual storytelling; Fishing vessels from Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada, San Blas the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico and the Isle of Mull on Scotland's west coast on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory-Scotland1

Fishing vessels, old, new and slightly blue

How would their builders or owners feel if they saw these decaying vessels now, stranded by tide and time, slowly, imperceptibly rotting on the shoreline of the Sound of Mull, on Scotland’s west coast?

Returning a year, or decade from now, what will we find? Will the two hulls have disintegrated into a series of disassociated, peeling planks, or the local council decided they are merely glorified litter that needed removing? As an optimist, I’m hoping an enthusiast will lovingly restore them to former glory.

Visual storytelling; The fishing fleet in Oban and quayside fish market of Essaouira in Morocco, north Africa on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory ScotlandMontage-1

Fishing tales from Oban to Essaouira

It’s important to remember the significance of the scene when clicking the shutter button; what is story are you trying to tell? This is the art of visual storytelling, attempting to convey a message in a single image, however there are times one image is not sufficient and a series of images necessary.

“Photographs can inspire, they have the power to capture the imagination and transport the viewer to exotic, exciting locations, they can also cement a place, a moment in time and history or record the passing of time.”

Visual storytelling; Old deserted fishing boats in the Sound of Mull near Salen, Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Scotland 002

High and dry

Some inspirational photography: Travel porn; Inspiration for Gloomy Days

Thinking carefully about how a difference in composition, colour, light or shadow can subtly change the context of an image. This possibly differentiates between a visual storyteller documenting a destination and a vacationer taking snaps.

Visual storytelling; Peeling paint of two old fishing boats near Salen in the Sound of Mull on the island of Mull in the west highlands and islands of Scotland on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Scotland 003

Peeled paint and warped boards

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Comments 1

  1. same day agra tour by car

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