Visual Rhetoric: Becoming a Better Storyteller
with courtney larson
march 6, 2017
april 10, 2017
register now >
Full Participation sold out.
Remember the best story you have ever heard heard? Maybe it was a bedtime tale your father created during your childhood, a popular TED talk that inspires you, or the way your husband tells the story of when you two first met. What makes that story so powerful? Storytelling is both a natural talent and a learned craft. Much like an aspiring authors do, we are going to learn how to construct a powerful visual narrative. We will examine the tools needed to express ideas and emotion. By analyzing literature and art, we will construct a new language for dynamic storytelling and the relationship between our mind’s eye and the camera. This class will develop the student’s ability to integrate various storytelling approaches, create single frame stories and photo essays, compose an effective communication strategy, and offer new tools for emphasizing the moments.
Minimal shooting required (one or two images per week)
4+ hours required per week (research and reflection)
this course has prerequisites
Students should be comfortable shooting in Manual Mode and have an understanding of the exposure triangle.
Courtney Larson has always been a storyteller. As a child, she scribbled out the dreams swirling around inside her head. As a teenager, she used her stories to inspire her paintings. Through adulthood, a small jewelry business supported her while she shared God’s story in overseas missions. From the outside, you may call her an artist. She is, but deep down she’s a storyteller. Courtney is drawn to the juxtaposition of joy and pain, seemingly polar opposites. She believes that joy reaches its heights only after it has been touched by pain (something all of us have experienced). As a storyteller, artist and photographer, it is Courtney’s goal to document the truthful and wholly beautiful moments of life and love, and the will to share in both. View Courtney’s work at inlovenessphotography.com.
• 4 Weekly PDFs
• 5 videos: 3 shooting, 1 culling, 1 editing video
• Personal Critiques of Assignments
Study Along students will have access to all materials and will be able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum and receive access to their own private subforum for peer study groups and image shares. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments.
Welcome & Preassignment
Reading:During the first week we will discuss ways to approach storytelling within a single image. You will learn how to identify the narrative in your current work and skills to strengthen future work much like a writer would when penning a novel. You will also begin your personal journal where you’ll add 5+ images per week.
Assignment: Share a minimum of 2 images taken for this weeks journal entries and write down the ‘identifiers’ while answer the questions in your Week One PDF. Share your strongest storytelling image (taken before the beginning of this class) and answer the questions in your Week One PDF.
Reading: In Week Two we will discuss the elements needed to create a story that uses more than one image, as both a diptych and photo essay. We will discuss the triangle of perspective and how it can affect the outcome of an image.
Assignment: Shoot an image from three+ perspective & create a diptych.
Reading: Strengthening the Story- Elements such as light, composition and color are some of the things that can distinguish a snapshot from a strong image. The PDF will go over those and more while also diving into editing & b/w conversions.
Assignment: You will demonstrate your grasp of rhetorical concepts through an analysis of images while answer the questions in the PDF. Brainstorm and execute a photo essay.
Reading: We will be discussing storytelling within personal projects and client sessions. There will be a behind-the-scenes video of a session in which I discuss how I use the concepts of this class in a DITL, portrait and everyday personal images.
Assignment: Shoot a DITL (of someone else or your own family) or a portrait session. Submit your session and answer the questions in Week Four’s PDF.
The CMU workshop is a 100% online classroom experience. Once you sign up, you have access to a course forum that is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn and join discussions on your own schedule.
Each week students receive a set of course materials– these materials generally include a PDF and/or videos. Throughout the week, instructors and TAs are present in the forum every day to answer questions and offer encouragement. Students receive an assignment each week that pertains to the topics covered in the course materials and class discussion throughout the week.
Full Participation students engage in an interactive online classroom experience that includes instructor-led group discussions and detailed, personalized guidance for the duration of the workshop. Full participation students post their assignments in the forum and receive instructor critiques each week.
Study Along students have access to all materials and are able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum. They also receive access to their own private Study Along subforum for peer study groups and image shares. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments, but they can follow along with instructor critiques of the Full Participation assignments.
Whether you are a Full Participation student or a Study Along student, the course materials are yours to keep.