Photo Essay Assignment
Broadly speaking, a photo essay is a set of images that tell a story. In the literature classroom, a photo essay is a story told in images and accompanied by text: quotations, aphorisms, epigrams, notes, or mini-compositions. As with any essay, the images and the captions in a photo essay, convey a central idea and purpose. They aim to send a message to a broad audience.
The photos can be arranged in a montage (sequential or chronological order, so they can be viewed one at a time), or they may be presented as a collage (a non-ordered cluster of images, intended to be viewed all at once).
Images can also be presented as a photo-editorial, which consists of a series of thematic photographs. For instance, you can arrange photos around major ideas reflected by the world literature we discussed this semester: the quest for identity; the struggle to belong; choice versus destiny; the art of love and marriage; the universal search for happiness. The photo essay can single out one theme or can combine two or three. Either way, the essay must have a clear main point and purpose. Once you select your working idea, ask yourself, “What do I want to convey to my audience by means of images and text? What do I want my readers/viewers to take away from my photo essay?”
How to get started:
- List three major ideas from the literature read thus far. Focus on those you find most interesting, intriguing, or even infuriating.
- Single out the one with the most potential. An idea has potential if it can be developed (broadened and deepened) in order to serve a purpose.
- Decide what specific aspect of this idea you want to present. Ask yourself: what do I want to communicate to my audience (main point)? Write it down!
- Decide what key points you want to express through image and text in order to support your idea. Write them down! (Limit yourself to 3-4)
- Decide what type of images (photos, drawings, paintings, etc.) and text (quotations, aphorisms, epigrams, notes, mini-compositions) can help you best communicate your points.
- Arrange them in the order that best suits your purpose (montage, collage, editorial, or an order of your own choosing).
- After you’re done with your project, write an abstract (one extended paragraph – minimum 12 complete statements) to place on the back of your photo essay along with your name and date. This part serves as a rationale/summary of your project. It specifies:
- What is your central topic.
- What motivated your choice (background in or experience with the topic; intellectual curiosity; desire to learn more about it; urgency to communicate a specific conviction, etc.)
- What you want your readers/viewers to take away from your project (i.e. to inform/educate; to challenge/incite action; to entertain/delight etc.).
The thesis of the paper is: In my project, I would like to argue how love is expressed in various cultures, however love is shown uniquely in the texts read this semester.
The books read were Namesake and Madame Bovary, both need citation, etc.
I also need a project done, to help communicate the points as well as the paper.
Let me know if you have any questions!