Something we’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the art of visual storytelling. Everything we do, whether for the print publication or in our client work through our sister business, Paprika Southern Studios, comes down the idea of visual storytelling. Imagery inspires, illustrates, evokes, seduces, challenges, comforts, discomforts, and entices, as a start. Sometimes we create imagery that contains a narrative within itself, as in our fashion pieces, and other times our images relate to the written word. Here, these images illustrate or expand upon text, to give you, the reader, a visual companion to the mental images the words of the story may conjure up.
I wanted to talk a little bit about our process today. Since we work in a few different styles (photographing for a story, photographing an editorial fashion or lifestyle piece, working with a client, to name a few), there’s not one set process for us, but in broad terms, everything we do tells a story. It might be a specific story, unique to an artist or maker who is being interviewed, or an attempt to evoke a particular emotion, or the atmosphere of the season. When we’re photographing for a story, we look for potential images that tell the story visually. This can apply to any subject from an artist in her studio to a home tour. It’s a combination of interesting visual elements, attractive lighting and compositions, and details that contribute to the story. It’s wide, environmental shots that set the scene and give you a sense of place. It’s portraits that capture the subject’s personality. It’s details of an artist’s tools or their hands at work. It’s the combination of textures of fabrics collected over a lifetime, an inspiration board, or the time-worn chair crafted a century ago by an ancestor artisan. It’s carefully controlled chaos, blended with order, all organized within the frame by the photographer’s eye.
When we create a styled photograph, we often work from a starting theme. That might be a season, a mood, a food, a style, or an idea. In the photographs that accompany this piece, we wanted to evoke feelings of late fall and winter, cozy holiday mornings, slow afternoons accompanied by coffee and longhand correspondence, foraging for natural elements to include in a Christmas wreath, and a sense of intention. Attention paid to details that get skipped—gathering chosen natural specimens for decor, baking cinnamon rolls overnight from scratch so your home can be infused with the warmth of the yeasty, spicy aroma first thing in the morning to set the tone of the day, taking the time to write a holiday letter to loved ones who live far, celebrating the colors and flavors of the season.
These are all things that have been on my mind, as we move into Paprika Southern’s fifth year in print. We invite you to join us on our journey of inspiring creative and intentional living, down all the paths it may lead us.