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Photographer Documents the Drama of Storytelling

April 2020 issue

Photographer Documents the Drama of Storytelling

Much of a story is told through the subtle (and not so subtle) movements of the face and hands, as evidenced by Neal Schlosburg’s photo series “My Picture Tells a Story.” For the sessions, he asks each subject to tell him a story as he silently makes photographs with his Fujifilm X-T2. “Sometimes I shoot more rapidly than others,” he says. “The stories always dictate the pace of those shots.”

He makes as many as 500 to 1,000 photos in a session and selects just six for each final piece. “I have two criteria when I choose: Does the image move the arc of the story, being true to the story? And [are they in] chronological order? I never move an image up or back in the story.” There’s no secret to making his selections, he says. “I just know them when I see and feel them.”

After he’s picked his captures, Schlosburg does initial image corrections and separates the storyteller from the background in Adobe Photoshop. He then creates a transparent background and pulls the images into that, using a combination of Topaz and Nik filters as needed. “The project’s purpose was to show that sharing human emotions appropriately should be and can be safe.”  

Amanda Arnold is the associate editor of Professional Photographer.

Tags: documentary photographypersonal photography project

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