Storytelling is such a rich, beautiful part of human creativity. We use stories to inspire and entertain our young ones. We share stories to keep family traditions alive, and pass down wisdom. We use storytelling to bring people into our corner of the world, or help them understand what we’re going through.
Myths, folklore, epic poems, and oral tradition turn into short stories, novels, movies, podcasts, web series—no matter the creative medium, storytelling is the foundation. Some stories remind us what’s really important, while others remind us not to take things too seriously. Stories help us communicate, connect, and put ourselves in other people’s shoes.
Why Storytelling is Good for Creativity
Storytelling and creativity are inherently linked. In fact, there is an element of storytelling to almost all creative work! Here are just a couple ways artists use storytelling in the creative process:
Brainstorming creative ideas – Great artists seek out different types of inspiration for their work—stories are a great source of inspiration! Hearing new stories (or new versions of old stories) can strike a chord and inspire the artist to create something new.
Plus, artists can tell stories of their process to help other artists brainstorm their own creative ideas. By sharing the story of how the work was created (or how the idea for the work came about), you can inspire another artist to try something new themselves!
Making the work more personal – Artists want to connect to their work, and help others connect to it, too! Photographers, painters, and other visual artists use storytelling elements to inspire their work and give it a creative point of view. In some cases this might mean creating a cast of characters in the inanimate objects you are studying. In other cases, maybe it means digging deeper into the subject matter to find a historical story you can pull inspiration from.
This isn’t exclusive to the artist—the viewer uses stories to personalize the work, too. Every viewer will see something unique in the piece and use their own life experience to bring meaning and significance to the work.
When the art lives in someone’s home, it becomes part of its own story, too! Every time you show it to a guest, talk about it, move it to a different spot, or see something “new” within it, the story grows.
Coming Soon: Three Characters from My Own Story
I love to use storytelling in my own photography. Telling stories about my photos helps people be more interested and emotionally invested in the work.
For my own photos, I like to use storytelling in two ways:
- Sharing the process behind the photo – The story behind where it was taken, how I stumbled upon it, and what was going through my mind helps everyone better understand the end result.
- Bringing the subject of the photo to life – Personality shouldn’t be just for portraits! Nature subjects and still objects can also have life and personality. I like to dream up characters and personalities for certain things I shoot. I find this helps me connect to the scene myself, and helps the people who see and buy my art to connect to the scene as well.
Come back to the blog soon to meet the first of several “characters” from my own work!
In the meantime, visit my shop to get a sneak peek of the stories I’ve captured so far.