Developing a storytelling context

While working on my Instant Nomad series, I felt that I needed to introduce a bit more ‘environmental’ context for this story, that this could be about a business (professional) person who is traveling and the resulting anxiety that occurs. Although I find more individuals are bring their portable computer even while on a holiday. Thus I considered including this staged photograph in the Instant Nomad book-dummy to help with establishing the narrative. First it was in the book-book-dummy and then I removed it. I am indecisive at this point about this particular photograph as I am allowing the overall story to continue to take shape.

In an attempt to make this story more about ‘every’ traveling-person at the time of the exposure I moved my head to blur my features, thus increase the ambiguity as to who the person in the photograph might be and create a broader representation. So does this make my narrative fictional? hmmmmm…

While setting the ‘stage’ for this photograph, I found that the mirror in the adjacent bedroom first seemed distractive, but then realized that this element could expanded the environmental context of this hotel room. The empty coat hook representing the missing person which also speaks to the loneliness of the situation. Including the mirror also required that I make an adjustment to where the camera and tripod was set-up so that it was excluded from the mirror’s reflection. I think it adds to the mystery of this moment. Details, details.

Likewise I noted an interesting blend of natural light on the right frame of the photograph versus the warmer artificial light illuminating the ‘person’ at the computer on the phone in the cove. I realized that I also needed the bathroom light on with the door open to help balance the artificial light in the small cove, otherwise the lighting was too contrasty. Another advantage to using digital to check the in-process images. In the ‘old days’, double-checking this set-up would have required a Polaroid back on the camera.

In retrospect, I note that this staged photograph, as others in this series, have a Edward Hopper narrative quality…




Featured photograph; Instant Nomad #5313 copyright Douglas Stockdale


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