Essay #4—The Photo Essay

English 104-007

Project Proposal: April 12, 2007

Draft Due: April 19, 2007

Final Due Date: April 27, 2007 (In my office by 3:00 pm)

Length: 5-7 pages

Sources: at least 1


Follow the criteria in the syllabus for paper formatting (font, margins, name, etc.). Don’t forget a title and your works cited page.


What: For your last essay you will be composing a photo essay that takes as its theme your reaction to a specific issue. Such issues might include a focus on:


In each of these areas you will want to narrow your focus and to illustrate the way(s) you are connected to or invested in what/who you are documenting. The issues I’ve provided, however, are not meant to limit your projects—they are merely starting points for you to consider. Feel free to take your own approach if you like.


How: There are essentially three major writing components to this essay 1) an artist’s statement of purpose, 2) captions for each photo, and 3) a closing reflection. As a part of this process you are required to write up a proposal for how you will designing this essay. You should outline the kinds of photos you’ll be taking, your investment in the project, and what you hope to accomplish at the end of the project. Your proposal counts as part of the essay grade and must be approved before you proceed with this project. You are also responsible for developing all of your photos and managing the technology of incorporating them into your essay. If you anticipate having problems with this I advise you to contact me sooner versus later.


Creativity: I want to be upfront and let you know that I’m hoping for some very creative pieces from this essay project. Pay attention to your everyday activities—how does your routine tell a story? If you only had pictures to use as communication how might you show your life to someone else? Or, if not your life then a situation, issue, or cause? Fortunately, you will have words to help you, but your words and pictures need to work together and to tell your story(ies) jointly.


Tips: For help in understanding how to provide captions for your pieces it might be worthwhile to revisit the Art Museum’s photo exhibit. Also, consider the artistry of photography and how you are setting up your shots. Finally, think about how you’re sequencing your shots and the kind of story you’re telling with them.


Here are some interesting examples of how some people have conceived the photo essay:


Here is a website that is helpful in understanding how to compose a photo:


One last word:  This project is a great opportunity to spend some time in your various communities. I encourage you to explore the museums, neighborhoods, and nooks and crannies of Lexington. Spend some time talking to the people around and drawing inspiration from your surroundings. Good luck and have fun!