Writes Michael Coyne in the current issue of Better Photography, "Human beings have always used illustrations to tell stories and record their history. Cavemen drew on rocks and carved stories onto walls about their exploits and experiences. Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphics on papyrus about gods, adventures and the meaning of life. The Ancient Greeks illustrated their mythology and tales of adventure on columns, pottery and temples.
"In later generations, artists used paintings, murals, drawings and etchings to chronicle social and political issues. Today, cameras are the go-to device when it comes to documenting stories about people, events or situations. With each iteration of record-taking, the capacity for distribution has increased exponentially; images which narrate today’s events are super-abundant. Tomorrow, these images will be viewed as history."
And this is where storytelling comes in and it's one way you can make your photos more interesting and relevant, even if you have to wait a few years for the stories to become interesting.
Continued Michael, "History can be seen as a continuous collection of stories, often with embedded lessons and underlying philosophies. This is why we are compelled to record the world as we find it: so that future generations can return to it and to help make sense of the world as they find it."
Michael shares a wonderful series of photos he took in China not long ago as examples.
"I have also been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively and document the rapid changes occurring in rural areas of China over the last thirty years. I have visited Chinese cities that were once villages and now have glass towers, freeways and giant supermarkets.
"When a country changes so rapidly, it gains modernity, but loses some of the qualities that held the people together, such as community and culture. These attributes are important to record alongside the negative forces playing out in rural environments today – pollution, environmental degradation, poverty and unemployment. The changes in China have brought better health services, education and a higher standard of living to many rural people. But future generations deserve to know what went before and why things changed."
Read more of Michael's thoughts and see more of his photos with a subscription to Better Photography magazine - visit www.betterphotographyeducation.com.