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Guest Tutor: Mimi Mollica, 'Beyond Storytelling'
By Jean M Jameson
Posted: 2019-04-02T22:00:00Z
Mimi Mollica needs little introduction, as he has been a friend to CoL&CPS for some years and always gives us a stimulating and lively evening. This time we were building on our experiences of trying to tell stories in pictures by looking at how longer series of images could build into a visually coherent project. This might be to tell a story, illustrate a situation or provide a rich visual collection of images on a theme. The outcome might be a book, an exhibition, an article or similar.

We began with Mimi's presentation of how he put together the images for the book on his seven-year project, Terra Nostra, the effects of the Mafia in Siciliy. He talked about how to develop a clear narrative through the sequencing of the images, rarely relying on chronology as a first choice. Instead, he likened the process to musical composition, where the images would flow like notes, with their own rhythm. By making small prints of all the images, the selection and order can be shuffled and reorganised until the shape begins to form - the opening images might not be the strongest but will set the scene, with a similarly apt image to close the sequence.Then, Mimi urged us to walk away and leave some time and distance before revisiting the project. His other advice is to ask friends and family, people we trust to give really honest feedback. Mimi strongly recommended Eugene Richards' photobook Cocaine True Cocaine Blue as an inspiration. And then he turned to the displays of eight members' projects.

As we moved round from one display board to the next, Mimi talked positively and with encouragement to all those participating, even as he unpinned the whole display and completely rearranged the images, in one instance covering the floor with some of the seventy extra prints available. From the story of a mannequin factory, to headshots of models, panoramic landscapes, urban gardens, current politics, park life, to views of one part of the city from another, we listened and learned. We are very fortunate to have such a good friend who gives candid and constructive advice, taking us very seriously as photographers, but with good humour, and also being willing to offer follow up. He asked that we should display our newly arranged sequences on the website for him to see, and so we shall. UPDATE - some of the sequences are available here.

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