Lifestyle · Research

Structuring the story

“In photography, narrative is related to the idea of context. No matter how complete or comprehensive a narrative appears it will always be the product of including some elements and excluding others. Inclusion/exclusion is part of what construction is all about, but knowing what is best included or excluded requires an understanding of context. And an understanding of context requires visual storytellers to be highly proficient researchers.” – David Campbell

I agree with David that a story should be thoroughly researched to portray the correct narrative and the correct context of the story. I researched my topic before I took the images to ensure that when I took them I had the right context of what I was trying to portray in mind and could decide on the composition of the photograph accordingly. Although I have done the research and know the context of the story I’m telling I’m not certain on the structure yet.

Whilst I needed a wide knowledge to be able to shoot the right images I now need the photographs to structure the narrative. Each image has it’s own background to it and when put in context tells it’s own part of the story. This is why I am deciding the position of the images first and will then structure the written content around it so the images can lead us through the narrative and not the words.


Image 1: Comments about photography

I like how the image is weighted more to the left showing a huge empty space which demonstrates the theme of the image. The image is composed so that it also has a central focus where the bus is coming in which adds something else to draw the eye to different points in the image. I chose this image over similar shots because it has more people in and activity which adds personality to the image and a human aspect rather than just a money/ infrastructure problem.

Grimsby Town Centre is left empty
Grimsby Town Centre is like a barron wasteland. It demonstrates the councillors attempts but lack of creativity and guidance. What was once a safe accessible bus station now stands a huge waste of resources. The council have literally sunk their money into the ground. £6 million on new pavements. Explains why people aren’t excited about the new funding and reason for the vote of no confidence.

Image 2: Comments on photography

I found it difficult to take this image from an angle that portrays the building as it is to look at. I think the colours could be brighter to make the image clearer. I will experiment with editing to crop the image and brighten the natural colours.

New Haven Mill, Grimsby
Built in 1840, grade 2 listed building. Unsure of owner as of yet but has had no money put into it by the council to repair it even though it is derelict in the main centre of town. Opposite the proposed site for a new complex which could be put in that building. Just one example of the many great architectural buildings in Grimsby left to go derelict whilst new buildings are being built.

Might not use if other images are needed more, still a huge talking point.

Image 3: Comments about photography

The image I took purely of the Wilkin Chapman building was quite bland and just showed the new infrastructure. I wanted to convey that the personality of the town was being forgotten about. There was no clear shot of both the old council offices and the Wilkin Chapman building so I shot this image through the archway. I like how the archway frames the Wilin Chapman building and the two different aspects are almost evenly split in the image.

Wilkin Chapman building
New £6 million building for Wilkin and Chapman stands behind empty council offices, the arches of which were just used for a graffiti project by the council. Old building shows culture and pride and could be moved in to instantly. New build doesn’t fit in with architecture and leaves old building empty to add to the number of empty buildings in Grimsby.

Image 4: Comments about photography

This image follows the rule of thirds leaving empty space in the first third which I think gives the building enough room to be the stand alone subject of the image without being too obtrusive. It is difficult to photograph entire buildings with the purpose of conveying a meaningful message. Unfortunately this was the only way of telling this part of the story. I think with editing the picture can be stronger in the narrative.

Museum Store, Grimsby. Has been shut since 2002, is home to great artwork but is now used as a council store and looks like a car boot inside. A great architectural building that could be used as an art gallery instead of investing 600k on art installations in Cleethorpes to boost tourism. A similar site was opened in Scunthorpe and has been successful.

Image 5: Comments about photography

I created a shallow depth of field with this image so the rubbish was in the forefront and the children’s park slightly blurred in the background. There are many images I took of this area which portray the council’s lack of concern with residential areas but chose this as the best because I think it instantly makes the point.

Voting in Cleethorpes, Haverstoe and Humberstone is significantly higher than in Grimsby. There may be some corrolation in the fact that parks in those areas are kept clean and looked after. Whilst parks have been updated recently the amount of rubbish that surrounds them makes them undesirable and unsafe for children. Why isn’t money being invested into the areas people live instead of just central town and central Cleethorpes?

Image 6: comments on photography

I took several shots for this image, a wide shots, extreme close ups, and medium close ups. I used this medium close up shot because it shows the rides in context of the beach. This image contains all of the attractions on the beach, 5 rides and a pier. When put in context of council funding and the size of the area I think this will convey the lack of attractions at the seaside. The image is weighted mainly to the right and is composed so the other rides can be seen in the background so the image isn’t centered just around the foreground. Including the background setting also shows the potential the area has.

They are improving the Train station, the Pier AGAIN, North and Central promenade and investing in some local businesses. Cllr David Watson said: “through this restoration and regenerative work, local businesses and jobs will be secured.” There is no longer any attraction to bring tourists to Cleethorpes since Pleasure Island shut down and they haven’t added any new attractions in decades therefore local businesses aren’t safe and the investment is a waste of money.

Image 7: Comments on photography

I chose this close up of the swing ride to use instead of an extreme close up. The extreme close up has an airy feel to it whilst this one portrays more of an empty feel whilst still being able to see the rust on the swings showing their age.

This image shows how old the attractions are. This is the first thing you see when coming off the train in to Cleethorpes or if you exit in the other direction the first thing you see is a boarded up pub which was bought by the council a year ago. This will show how the investment is meaningless in terms of bringing tourists to Cleethorpes.

Image 8: comments on photography

This medium close up of the closed down theme park is one of my favourites as it is clear to see what the image is trying to convey. A theme park, with fully functioning rides, is now closed off to the public and lies abandoned behind barbed wire.

One of these

Pleasure Island
Shut down theme park which brought tourists. Business received no help off the council to stay open but would have benefited them by bringing in tourists.


This image is also one of my favourites but is more ambiguous in what it is trying to portray. The use of a shallow depth of field puts the focus on the fence and portrays that what is behind it is unreachable. The blurred image beyond shows a ride in the theme park which is now shut off to the public.


Image 9: comments on photography

This image was taken with a zoom lense from a far distance. Because of this the image is slightly blurry but I think it is still effective in telling a story and is one of the strongest images of pleasure included in the article.

Man on sofa
This image is a scene residents in Grimsby and Cleethorpes are familiar with and is one anyone from an area deprived of council funding will understand. It shows how the council has forgotten about its residents and whilst central Grimsby and Cleethorpes may have been regenerated the areas surrounding it have been left to rot.

Image 10: comments on photography

There are images of this building which show the state it is in but for the purpose of the context this image will be placed in this has the strongest narrative to it. The main focus in the foreground is the for sale sign which portrays the context. The inclusion of the side of the derelict building adds more narrative to the image. This image is the best of the ones taken because it shows both parts of the story.

For sale
This image of a for sale sign next to a derelict building which is again of great architectual signifcance shows how instead of investing in property the council is selling it off. This shows how they would rather abandon a problem than tackle it and also creates tensions with the public who are questioning why the council has the right to sell off publicy owned buildings to private companies.

Image 11: comments on photography

As just an image of a building it was hard to bring personality to the composition. I will consider cropping the image so the man in the background leaning against the building is more visible whilst still attempting to keep the personality and context shown by the graffiti and the sign above the door.

Youth centres closed down
This image continues the narrative that the council doesn’t consider its residents when making choices on where to spend the budget. All of the youth centres in Grimsby and Cleethorpes have been shut down which leaves no safe space for residents to go. Along with this they have also been trying to shut down libraries, the ice rink and spent a huge amount on building a new leisure centre less accessible to the public and ignored a petition with 9,000 signatures to not shut the old leisure centre in Scatha down.

Image 12: comments on photography

I like this close up because of the personality it has. The focus here is more on the subject than the surrounding area. The council’s lack of funding in the area has left buildings in the state you can see in the image but a side effect of this is how it has affected the people. For a once busy street situated in the town centre it is concerning that scenes like this make up every day life or sights for people in Grimsby.

Man drinking on street
This image was taken down Freeman Street. A street renowned for harboring drunks and not much more. Almost every business on the street has been closed down and no attempts have been made to regenerate the street. The street is next to the town centre and could be a great offspring of the shopping district but as buildings become more derelict over time and more businesses shut down there is no interest from private businesses.

Image 13 (instead of image 2): comments about photography

The central composition of this image surrounded by empty space conveys the message that N.E Lincolnshire has become bare. I think the subject of the image being central makes it a strong image. I also like the architecture in the background to the right of the image meaning the surrounding emptiness isn’t boring for the reader to look at in the image but conveys the message.

Old Kiosk
For a concluding image this shows how bare and lifeless North East Lincolnshire has become and will do even more so. The council plan to invest £150million in a kiosk owned by a private company in Cleethorpes when all they have to do is bring the shutters up on this one.

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