What happens when you spend a whole year publishing daily stories in images that have been left for the story?
Well, when you look back you realize the power of the image and its ability to tell stories.
Among the 2 March 2019 and the 1 March 2020 I've been posting the series #GRelatos on my Instagram profile every day. There is no profit-making any, nor has 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're short on time, here's a video summary.
Image and story is a winning combination
There are images that draw our attention for their beauty. The Portrait of Mona Lisa, 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's not a STORY, Like this, capitalized.
Look at this picture of this child: it's pretty, Truth? Of course, but the interesting thing is to know that it was the first time this child 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 getting excited.
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 really counts when you know the story.
This is the case with 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 prevented a fall, and Thompson caught up with him quickly and performed his mouth-to-mouth breathing. He wasn't able to perform CPR, given the circumstances, but continued his breathing 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 arrived which was called by photographer Rocco Morabito himself moments before taking this picture. The photograph was published in newspapers around the world.
It's what it looks like.
The photos also show stories that today seem impossible to us. 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. No, it didn't happen in the 19th century, was in 1967.
Race 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 was able to reach the finish line. Switzer was inspired by the incident to create athletics events for women around the world and was a leader in bringing the women's marathon to the Olympics.
Like life itself
Everyday life is part of our lives, even if it's as exceptional as that of photographer Alyona Kochetkova, 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 broke new ground. Like the first selfie or the first image taken from a mobile phone (1997). Imagine what would become now of photography without selfies or without images captured with our smartphones.
Iconic images… who were pre-fabricated
Some of the world's most reproduced images, such as Robert Doisneau's "Le Baiser de l'Hétel de Ville" were not coincidental, but planned. That, in my opinion, doesn't take beauty away from the image, but maybe it falses on his account. In this case, it was an advertising photograph to promote Paris as a destiny for lovers.
Incomplete images with a misguided story
Manipulating is easy. Simply reframe an image to remove information that "annoys". This is the case with Einstein's iconic image pulling out his tongue, who doesn't respond to a sympathetic portrait of the scientist, responds to an angry attitude after "running away" from paparazzi in a friend's car. Next to a detail, it was the genius's birthday, right outside a party they prepared for him. I was tired..
When beauty hides drama
Conflict zones are assiduous places for the most daring photographers. The Greek professional of the Reuters agency, Yannis Behrakis, got a Pulitzer with this stunning image of a raft crammed 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 from some 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, June, 2019
The new photographers
Social media has been the birthplace 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, Mexican based in London Mayoli Vazquez (Maria Marie), whose images superbly studied in pastel tones have created school.
And on the other hand Cristina Otero (Pontevedra, 1995), that with just 15 years made his 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 personal brand, the endpoints
I usually count in my formations that the images we post of our daily life are not innocent. Or at least, they 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 today it is even more important and valuable to convey how we are. What moves us, what motivates us.
Viewing pictures on an Instagram profile, I can get to find out what a person is like, And I think that's wonderful.
If you do nothing but repeat other people's phrases, I'll know he's someone with few ideas of his own, or maybe afraid to express them. If you generate your own reflections that help others cope with their existence, I'll know it's a guide, a sherpa. If you give us beautiful images, I'll know it's someone sensitive, broad-looking. If you post curiosities you find in your daily routine, I'll know he's someone curious, with a sense of humor.
People who share their sports images convey their planning character to us, Disciplined, effort, resilience. If you share family images, they convey their pride and love for their loved ones. If they share only selfies, we'll know that there may be some emotional lack. Everything communicates. Everything leaves a mark. And our images have the power to tell a lot about us.
If you want to see my 366 published stories, click on #GRelatos.
Convinced that everything leaves a mark, I help companies better connect with their stakeholders through personal branding programs (personal brand management) and employee advocacy (programs of branded internal ambassadors).
Socio of Soymimarca's Integra Personal Branding, Brand Directory of Omnia Branding, I also collaborate with Ponte en Valor, Brandergizers, MoreThanLaw, Noema Consulting and Quifer Consultores.
I participate in various programs at IESE, ISDI and EAE, among others. Collegiate advertising, Master in Marketing. Humanities Degree Student.
My advertising DNA comes from 20 years in agencies: Time/BBDO, J.W.T., Bassat Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Altraforma and TVLowCost among others.