Project 63: a narrative picture essay

Task: Tell a story in a set of pictures. Think about the layout of the photos and the relationship between them.

A journey on the North York Moors Railway was an ideal opportunity to create a narrative sequence, from Grosmont to Pickering. There is a simple chronology to a train journey: Planning the route; Buying a ticket; Leaving the station; On the train; Arriving at a destination; and going to the exit.

Planning a route

1) Planning a route. At Grosmont Station there is a large map showing the different routes that can be taken on North Eastern Railway. I thought this would be a good introductory shot, setting the scene for the narrative of a train journey.

Buying a ticket

2) Buying a ticket. Following on from planning the route, I included the ‘Tickets’ sign with someone looking in the booth, making it obvious that he was buying a train ticket. For continuity it would probably have been better to have the same person from the first shot.

The train arriving at Grosmont

3) The train arriving at Grosmont. I wanted to narrow the focus and provide more detail of where the ‘story’ was taking place. This shot was taken to illustrate that the station is called Grosmont and the steam train is to the left side of the frame.

The train arrived

4) The train arrived. I stood at the railway crossing to get this view of the steam train on teh tracks. The conductor is seen talking to the driver so it is clear that the train has stopped at the station.

The train carriage

5) The train carriage. There was a symmetrical feel to the carriages. Maybe I could have shown people getting on board the train.

Leaving the station.

6) Leaving the station. In order to maintain the flow of the narrative I had to take shots out of sequence, including trains I was not going to be boarding. I took this photo to show the train leaving the station. The girl looking out of the window helps the viewer to know which direction the train is moving in. There is a bridge in the background which I used to continue the narrative in the following picture.

Going under the bridge

7) Going under the bridge. By standing on another footbridge I changed the viewpoint to maintain interest, showing the train going towards the bridge.

View from the bridge.


8) View from the bridge. In the previous picture there were people standing on the bridge. I wanted to show their viewpoint so I took this high-angled shot of the train’s funnel.

On the move

9) View from a carriage window. The windows in the old carriages were ideal for pushing down to lean out of and take photos. By resting my camera on the carriage window I took this photo to show the motion of the train, with the carriage appearing in focus and the ground being blurred. I tried to get a photo with the train going around a corner, so that the engine would be visible, but there wasn’t the opportunity.


10) The destination. I took this photograph after the train had left, showing an empty platform. By putting it in this part of the narrative makes it appear as though the people are waiting for the train I’ve been photographing.

Pickering station.

11) Pickering station. This shot provides some contextual information about the location. I took it on the train, looking out of the carriage window as we approached the station.

Heading to the exit.

12) Heading to the exit. Similarly to the first photos, I used the ‘Way Out’ sign to bring this narrative to a close.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s