What happens when you spend a whole year publishing daily stories in images that have been left for the story?
For when you look back you realize the power of the image and its ability to tell stories.
Between 2 March 2019 and 1 March 2020 I've been published the series #GRelatos on my Instagram profile every day. There is no profit at all, nor does it have to do with my profession as an analyst and consultant in personal branding. It's my passion for the story and the image that brings me here. Now you'll see why.
If you have little time, here's a video summary (in Spanish).
Image and story is a winning combination
There are images that draw our attention for their beauty. Mona Lisa's Portrait, by Leonardo Da Vinci. A photograph of the Northern Lights. An image of a whale breathing on the surface…
But sometimes, without a little story that clarifies what's going on, the image is only beautiful, but it doesn't constitute a RELATO, this way, In uppercase.
Look at this image of this child: it's pretty, true? Of course, but the interesting thing is to know that it was the first time this child had heard a sound. And photographer Jack Bradley was there to immortalize that unique moment. That turns the image into something else, in a true story capable of thrilling us.
It's not what it looks like.
This phrase, more typical of adultery, defines well the difference between what an image seems to convey with the naked eye and what it really tells when you know the story.
This is the case of this extraordinary photograph by photographer Rocco Morabito in 1967. At first glance you may think it's an image of a two-man kissing at work. Nothing further.
Two power line workers, Champion Randall and JD Thompson, carried out routine maintenance when Champion grazed one of the high-voltage lines on top. His heart stopped instantly.
His safety harness avoided a fall, and Thompson reached him quickly and breathed his mouth-to-mouth. He was unable to perform CPR, given the circumstances, but continued his breath in Champion's lungs until he felt a slight pulse. Then, unbuttoned the harness and descended with it on his shoulder.
Thompson and other workers performed CPR on the ground, and Champion was revived before the ambulance that was called by photographer Rocco Morabito moments before taking this picture. The photograph was published in newspapers around the world.
That's what it looks like.
The photos also show stories that we find impossible today. Images of wars, of parents who sell their children so that everyone can survive. And this one, one of the most iconic images of gender equality, at a time when women couldn't participate in a marathon. Isn't it?, it didn't happen in the 19th century, it was in 1967.
Career officer Jock Semple tried to forcibly remove the runner Kathrine Switzer Boston Marathon in 1967, simply because she was a woman. Fortunately for Switzer, her boyfriend gave her a hand and she could reach the finish line. Switzer was inspired by the incident to create athletic events for women around the world and it was a leader in bringing the women's marathon at the Olympics.
Like life itself
Everyday life is part of our lives, even if it's as exceptional as photographer Alyona Kochetkova's, unable to take your favorite dish due to the effects of chemotherapy. A self-portrait that got a World Press Photo in 2019.
Pioneering images, the ones that opened a path
There are many images that opened new paths. Like the first selfie or the first image taken from a mobile phone (1997). Imagine what it would be like to photograph without selfies or images captured with our smartphones.
Iconic images… that were pre-fabricated
Some of the world's most reproduced images, "Le Baiser de l'Hétel de Ville" by Robert Doisneau were no accident, but planned. That's it, in my view, doesn't take beauty away from the image, but maybe it distorts his account. In this case, it was a publicity photograph to promote Paris as a destination for lovers.
Incomplete images with a misaccount
Manipulating is easy. Simply reframe an image to remove information that "annoying". It's the case of Einstein's iconic image taking out the tongue, who doesn't respond to a sympathetic portrait of the scientist, responds to an airy attitude after "running away" from paparazzi in a friend's car. Along with one detail, it was genius's birthday, right off a party they prepared for him. I was tired..
When beauty hides drama
Conflict zones are a regular place for the most daring photographers. The Greek professional from the Reuters agency, Yannis Behrakis, got a Pulitzer with this stunning image of a raft crowded with Syrian refugees fleeing war and hunger in the Aegean.
Naked nature, the most stunning images
Often you only need a good camera and the patience to wait for a moment that can mean many hours of observation. Like this incredible series of images of Daniel Biber of starlings creating bird shapes in Sant Pere Pescador, and that earned him a Sony World Photography Award in 2018.
I advise to see the full series: GRelatos published on 7 June 2019
The new photographers
Social media has been the cradle of new photographers, some of them using smartphones to do their job. They've found a style of their own., a way to tell their stories. I'm struck by the work of two photographers.
On the one hand, the Mexican based in London Mayoli Vazquez (Maria Marie), whose beautifully studied pastel images have created school.
And elsewhere Cristina Otero (Pontevedra, 1995), than with just 15 years made their first solo exhibition, becoming the youngest artist in Spain to do so in an art gallery. His style is colorful, Hard, direct, very interesting.
The image and the personal brand, connection points
I usually count in my formations that the images we publish of our daily life are not innocent. Or at least, are not consciously innocent. They say a lot about us..
Let's be frank, it's hard to explain our values. It's better to pass them on, in a natural way. Explaining who we are is important. And I think that today it is even more important and valuable to convey how we are. What moves us, what motivates us.
Seeing some pictures on an Instagram profile, I can figure out what a person is like, And I think that's wonderful.
If you do nothing but repeat phrases from others, I'll know he's someone with few ideas of his own, or maybe afraid to express them. If you generate self-reflections that help others cope, I'll know it's a guide, a sherpa. If you give us beautiful pictures, I'll know it's someone sensitive, broad-looking. If you post curiosities you find in your daily routine, I'll know it's someone curious, with a sense of humor.
People who share their sports images convey their planning character, Disciplined, effort, resilience. If they share family images, transmit their pride and love for their loved ones. If they share only selfies, we'll know that there may be some emotional deprivation. Everything communicates. Everything leaves a brand. And our images have the power to tell a lot about us.
If you want to see my 366 published stories, click on #GRelatos.