The photographic exploration of a place involves a close attention to both the environment and the individual perceptions and experiences of the photographer. Photography helps to see the most familiar things with a new eye and to articulate subjective views, feelings and stories.
In story labs, participants use photography to observe, explore and document places, issues and themselves in a specific environment over a certain amount of time. Members of an urban community may tell stories about their neighborhood; a school class may explore how young people perceive their identity in relation to the places they interact with; participants of cultural education courses may learn how to tell visual stories about people and places.
Story labs usually take a few weeks. In workshops, participants learn the basics of visual storytelling. In between those group meetings, the stories are photographed individually or collaboratively. Ample time during the workshops is dedicated to the discussion of the participants’ ideas and images. In this creative process, participants learn how to translate their observations, experiences and thoughts into images and visual stories.
Depending on time and resources, a story lab may result in an exhibition of the photo stories or other forms of public presentation.