As I sit here, watching a movie with the sound off, I think of all the ways stories have been told through time and how important those stories are to connecting us to one another. From the smallest story on how to do something to those we’ve experienced that we share with our family and the world at large, the stories we tell become our legacy.
Because story is a concept not a structure, the ideas and experience of story can weather the changes that technology brings. The education, understanding and change resulting from those stories are important connections between us whether those stories are fact or fiction. Both can and have had more impact and influence as stories, even visual stories.
Renowned author and photographer Michael Freeman has just released his new book The Photographer’s Story. It is the most comprehensive look at modern visual storytelling in photography I have seen. It will become one of the few books I will refer to on a regular basis. His insightful look from several points of view–from what makes a good visual story to the different requirements for all manner of presentation–will help photographers build stories.
In this issue we are very pleased to include an essay from Michael Freeman whose long career includes working for major international magazine and book publishers with more than 170 books covering a variety of subjects from Japanese design and architecture to ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia and of course the practice of photography. Some contemporary photography writers have borrowed extensively from his books including The Photographer’s Eye, reflecting his authoritative voice on many of the topics covered in his 50 books on photography.
The Rear Curtain team has also been working to bring some of their own visual stories to you. From the spending a week at the Mooreland Free Fair in Indiana this summer to time at the Doi Tung Development Project in the Golden Triangle in Thailand this fall, the crew has been hard at work. We plan to present these two projects in different forms in the hopes of helping others build their own visual stories and spread the word on how vision is building a better world for many.
We want to do more than just encourage people to tell stories though, we want to be a part of making that happen in a tangible way. Earlier this month we announced the winner of the first Rear Curtain Fellowship Award. Brian Miller’s submission “On the Bench” is a story about baseball but it’s no ordinary story. He is exploring the side of the game not many people talk about—wanting to be in the game and never quite making it.
Story and storytellers. They’ve been part of the fabric of life since the beginning of time. Although how we told those stories has changed over the centuries, the essence of storytelling hasn’t changed and if we are to reach the full potential of our stories we need to remember who we are creating them for and why. Who is our real audience? Other photographers or people who have the ability to make a difference in places that need it? In some cases they are one and the same but we need to speak not to the photographer in us but to the person who is in all of us.
This is the Editor’s Note from Issue 3. To learn how our storytellers bring together their vision in a story, please pick up a copy today.