Monday, 9 May 2016

Kim Ayres - Photographing The Storyteller

"Carstramon Woods would be ideal," said Tony. "In the later afternoon and early evening the sun is at the right angle to cast a good light through the trees."

Tony Bonning is a storyteller, musician, writer and children's entertainer, and was after some new publicity photos. We were discussing the idea of the mysterious traveller in the woods - at the heart of many old folk tales.

When I first met Tony, ten years ago on a Storytelling Workshop he was running, I was not a photographer - my photos were snapshots like anyone else's. At that time I was planning on becoming a writer and the art of storytelling was something I was intensely interested in.

Although my career as an author never took off, storytelling found its way into the core of my photography once I began to use my camera in earnest. I realised the best photos were ones that prompted questions, evoked emotions and transported us to other lives, worlds and perspectives. If a photograph doesn't tell, or hint at, a deeper story then it rarely keeps our attention for more than half a second.

I established my reputation creating mean and moody black and white portraits. Once you move away from the smile-for-the-camera approach, the face is full of amazingly subtle shifts of expression, with a thousand stories to tell.

Over the past couple of years I've taken that idea of storytelling photography beyond faces and into full on narrative photography - creating scenes that look like film stills, movie posters, storybook illustrations and album covers. These are images that require attention not just to facial expressions, but outfits, props, location and, most importantly, the story to be told.

So I was rather pleased to be asked by Tony to create the right imagery for him.

A chance to do storytelling photography for a man who embodies storytelling.

As always, you can click on the images for larger versions

Kim Ayres

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