Visual Narratives in the Superhero Universe
The first reading “Telling Stories in Photos” focuses on how to take better pictures and explains how they can be more than just a picture. The reading referenced a famous photo of a migrant mother. That picture is not only an image of the mother, but it tells a story of the worry and hardships faced by migrants during that time. In the advice of how to take better pictures, it gives several pieces of advice. It talks about being more choosy with photos. Instead of taking 100 pictures for your snapchat, you be more selective with your photos and choosing meaningful moments. You can use different tools such as lighting and contrast to not only take a better picture, but to give it a narrative. You can also change your perspective, a different angle can tell an entirely different story. It also talks about using better equipment like the best lens, although this can be more difficult for most people since all they usually have is a smartphone.
Leading into the second reading, “Photography and Narrative,” that author talks about how it is not the object that creates a native, but the people who do something with it. People give the object, person, or event a story and allow it to have a story. I love the example of how the French Revolution as we know it is a narrative that explains how events are connected and bleed into one another. As a history major, this is something that I understand and see often. All of history is a human construction. Many people through time have looks at the events of the past and created a narrative to explain them either in a good or bad light and this can change greatly depending on the person who is narrating. The biggest example I can think is the use of atomic bombs in WWII. At the time, the US saw the bombs as a sign of power and victory, whereas Japan only saw devastation. A more artistic (although not entirely) example would be the Rorschach Ink Blot test. Each person saw something different and could give their own narrative to it (if we ignore the psychoanalysis that followed). The narrative is not created by the object, but rather by people creating a narrative by explains connections.
I feel like aspects of good photography can be found in superheros movies in order to play a narrative. Selection comes into play because actors could do dozens of takes and the film editing crew will find the best one. Another example would be book to movie conversions. It’s not possible to take every moment from a book and turn it into a normal length movie so the creators have to be selective and focus on the important parts. Depth can be created in movie posters by staggering the size of characters to make some seem closer than others. For example, when you see posters with every single Marvel Character and then have rows upon rows of characters. They get smaller in the back and they allows for depth. Lighting can be very important as well because without it you would not be able to see all of the details within the movie. However, that does not mean that the light needs to be bright. For example, in Iron Man, Stark spends some time in a cave. Even though he’s in a cave, the lighting is still very important so that it sets the most of this dark, desolate place while still allowing you to see the environment.