A visual narrative (also visual storytelling) is a story told primarily through the use of visual media. Different media have their own particular story-telling characteristics and requirements in the ways in which basic principles of visual dynamics are used to create meaning.
Meaning, symbols and semiotics
Visual story-telling requires an understanding of the process of visual communication:
- how images are coded with meaning/s – and how these are affected by the particular skills and views of the storyteller.
- how viewers might then decode these images – how those meanings are read.
- ‘noise’ affecting the relationship between the two – whether it should be eliminated or accommodated. The type of ‘noise’ will vary depending on who is looking at the work, where they are, and their cultural standpoint.
!! Include relevant links to discussion of semiotics and visual communication theory infographhics from VisCom4Dev.
Single image narratives
Visual narratives can be single image narratives where one photograph or illustration tells a story through the visual dynamics of elements in a frame. Placing something at the front or top of an image will create a different meaning from placing something at the back or bottom.
Key examples are:
- cartoons like those of William Hogarth
- photographs of Martin Parr and Stephen Shore
Collage (from the French: coller, “to glue”) brings together parts of other images to create a new image. The term collage was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art. A collage may sometimes include magazine and newspaper clippings, ribbons, paint, bits of coloured or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas.
Digital painting collage