Narrative in Three Pics

In this assignment you are asked to create a narrative using three pictures.
Things to consider while developing your story:

  1. Closure
  2. Text & Image
  3. sequence

Understanding Closure:

Have you ever noticed how much more engaged you are with a story when you can relate to its content? A good storyteller knows that by giving his audience an opportunity to connect to the content/subject of his narrative, he stands a greater chance of engaging them in the work. Hollywood understands the art of engaging their audience and uses it with great precision and deliberate execution. In a comics sequence, the artist uses the space between the panels, otherwise known as the gutter, to convey a significant amount of information.

“Comics panels fracture both time and space, offering a jagged, staccato rhythm of unconnected moments. But closure allows us to connect these moments and mentally construct a continuous, unified reality.” –Scott McCloud

At the heart of comics lies the gutter, where much of the mystery and magic take place. A great expanse of time can take place in this space or a split-second can pass: 1/24th of second, in fact. Regardless of the time elapsed between the panels, the author directs the course of narrative. Without a guide, the viewer is left standing at the edge of a chasm wondering how he got there and why.

Given the proper ingredients, the viewer will throw in his own preconceived ideas, historical references and language system to draw a conclusion. This is referred to as perception, and it is a powerful force and can be used in any medium. Filmmakers realized this importance and have been using it ever since.


Example: Queer by Duane Michals.

Think about a single image that you have authored; what would a series of images related to that image look like? Think about working in series; how would you present that series? Would you need to support the story through the use of text?

These very principles are what help make the narrative work by Duane Michals, Joel-Peter Witkin, Dave McKean, Maggie Taylor and countless others successful. The art of closure is a refined skill, where the author provides enough information to draw his or her viewers in, but not so much as to give away the mystery. Whether it is through a single image or a series, there is the potential to produce a narrative with an open-ended conclusion.

Let this be your challenge as you produce work for this project. Upload your images to this post using the link directly below the “submit comment” button.

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One Response to “Narrative in Three Pics”

  1. trefethen says:

    Narrative in Three Pics by John Trefethen.

    I played around with the sequence quite a bit before selecting this option. I felt that the poised pack represented the start of a journey. The difficulty in choosing this image as the first rested in the fact that it was actually the last image I took during this trip; funny how perception can alter outcome.