Neither of these two pictures that I have posted is a particularly great picture. They were, in fact, taken one minute apart.
My train back to Delhi was 6 hours late, and even though I tried very hard to put myself in a Zen-like, or meditational, mood, there were times when I became a bit edgy.
These two pictures were taken when the train was fairly close to Delhi, and I walked up to the open door and poked my head out. There, tucked into the sweeping curve of the train, were these men unloading their stuff. A minute later, they were gone. What was left, was the curve of the train on the track.
Practically, the only thing that is different about these two pictures, is the presence, or absence, of the men.
Yet, one of these pictures is rather empty, and in the other you are tempted to ask questions. What were they unloading? Why there, and not at the station? Did they bribe the train driver to stop the train there? Do they have bombs? Contraband stuff? Or, are they legitimate traders?
In my mind, the first picture does arouse – can arouse – some interest, invite questions, maybe even tell a wee story. The second does nothing.
When I was introduced to the concept of story telling in photos, it took me a long time to get it. I am still learning this aspect of photography, and I may well be learning it ten years from now.
How do the elements of a photograph add up to make a composite, or coherent whole? Are there elements that distract, or subtract from the effect? Are there elements that help the story.
Good questions to ask before you press that shutter!