Learn from my mistakes. How to make sure you have a story.

A photographic documentary series tells a story, sheds light on an idea or concept. Yet crucially, it has to tell the story without a 10,000-word essay next to the shots, actually explaining it. 

I mean this is easy, at least that’s what I had thought when travelling to Palestine. Capture every moment, capture a selection of opening shots be that landscapes or city views as well as a moment or two of unusual shots as a filler if necessary.
So that’s what I did.

This shot of Shaban praying under the shade of a tree, sadly didn't make it into the series as it didn't align with the story; yet I still love it.

Came back and my god it was a struggle. I was missing shots, I hadn’t got a clear story already built up and both Katrin Thomas (my mentor overlooking this project) and I weren’t sure whether or not it would be possible to create a story. Through building a concept mentally the selection process started, sorting through a total of 78 selected photographs out of 650 taken shots. At the end of the day, over a period of 6 weeks, we ended up with a series including 27 photographs which do tell a story.

Sadly, in my highly critical view of myself it definitely could have been better, and a clearer, more enticing story than that of which I have now created. There is a storyline yet it is simplistic and not all too imaginative.

Thereby through my mistakes, these are what I have learned and will do in future in order to create better stories each and every time in future.

Things to do so you wont end up in a mess, similar to mine.

Plan ahead

-        Do your research.

This, however, did make it into the final series.

This, however, did make it into the final series.

-        Know what you are getting yourself into.

-        Build your story.

-        Figure out the approx. shots that you need.


When you are there

-        Is your story going a different direction?

         o   Stay in the hotel, work out how to change it.

         o   Build that extra topic into the story.

         o   DON’T JUST IGNORE IT

-        Edit the series in the sections of story needed, thereby one can clearly see 24/7 what is missing.

The final series will be uploaded onto jackmawbey.com soon, so make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and my social media handles to guarantee that you'll be able to see it.