Photobooks and Storytelling

We had a lecture introducing us to the vast majority ways in which we can tell a narrative in photography and show them in photo books. Below are some of the photographers and photo books that caught my eye.

WG Sebald – The rings of Saturn

  • Photobook with photographs

Brassai – Paris By Night

  • Complete book of photographs, no text included

Edward Steichen – The Family of Man

  • Archived photos of people and their families
  • Includes quotes and short sentences




Small Narratives

Bill Owens – Suburbia

  • Images featuring quotes

Nick Waplington – Living Room

  • Colour
  • Moved in with the families that he photographed to get a sense of their lives

Richard Billingham – Ray’s a Laugh

  • Candid
  • Photos of his family, in all moods and states

Eugene Richards – Cocaine Truth, Cocaine Blue

  • Photographed addicts in New York City in their personal spaces and what they’d get up to in their time




Extended Narratives

Robert Frank – The Americans

  • Travelled around America photographing

Tom Wood – All Zones Off Peak

  • Photographed busses, interior and exterior



Staged Narratives

Anja Niemi – Short Stories

Cristina Otero – The Forgotten

Linda Blacker – YouTube Fairytale

Annie Leibovitz – Disney-themed celebrity portraits


A narrative can be shown in every type of photography in many different ways, I have chosen to use staged documentary photography to share a narrative in the form of a photo book. I chose to do staged photography as it is something I am very comfortable in doing and I have used it for years, I believe staged documentary has a stigma to show an unreliable truth, I want to capture a real narrative with the use staged documentary to beat that stigma.


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