Writing Your Story

Objectives

  • To practice writing about a picture story
  • To see how words and pictures are interconnected in storytelling

Materials

  • Digital cameras or phone cameras (1 per participant)
  • Access to photos printers or computers to view pictures
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • “Writing Prompts Worksheet” (1 per participant)

Prepare Before

Everyone should have a bank of photos they have taken to choose from.  They should be pictures they have taken for this project, not pictures they already have.  For this exercise, they need a picture that represents a story about themselves.   If they include pictures of other people, they should get a photo release.


Warm Up

Take a look at your picture bank.  Choose one picture that represents a story about yourself, that would tell the viewer something about who you are and what you value.  Write your answers the following questions:

  • Why did you choose this photo?
  • What does this photo say about you as a person?

Experience

Distribute a “Writing Prompts Worksheet” to everyone.   Answer the questions as fully as possible.  You don’t have to write in complete sentences but take notes on all your thoughts.  Some of the questions might not be relevant to your story. You will be sharing your answers with another participant.

Once everyone has completed their Writing Prompts, get into pairs.  In your pair, share your answers and ask for any additions your partner might add or your partner might notice when they look at the picture.  Make all changes and additions to your page.

Reflect

Facilitate a discussion with the following reflection questions:

  • How hard or easy was it to select your picture?
  • What questions were difficult to answer?
  • What questions brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings?
  • What insights or feedback did your partner have that was new or different from what you were thinking?

Summarize

Writing the story of a photo often takes an insider and an outsider.  You have the experience of what the original picture was.  Another person often has a different perspective that can help you understand different aspects of your picture and how people see it.

Demonstrate

Using your notes and your partner’s feedback, write a one paragraph story of this photo.  It might follow the 6 questions in order, or you might decide the story of this picture needs to follow a different order.  Write or type your stories. Once you have a draft, share it with your partner and get feedback on the story.   Make any changes or corrections so that you have a final draft — this time spelling and grammar are important.

Once all the stories are complete, go around the room and read the stories and display the photos.  These can either be kept together digitally as a slideshow or kept as a class photo album that tells a collective story of the group.

Review

What does the picture tell about yourself that words can’t do alone? What do the words convey that the picture can’t do alone?