“Picture This” Photo Essay: The Computer Mouse


COMM 100W – Writing for Influence

“Picture This” Photo Essay

This assignment tests your ability to work with facts (information capable of verification), in this case, the ultimate facts of photographs, and to use nothing other than the arrangement of those facts to tell a story. The facts themselves don’t change; but arrangement (how you order those facts), tells the full story behind this invaluable stylistic tool.

This essay consists of two inter-related parts: one visual and the other textual. Directions for each part are detailed below along with instructions for how to integrate the two in the essay’s final draft. Please read carefully the instructions for composing and submitting your essay.

Be sure to give yourself adequate time to finish and upload your essay. It is your responsibility to resolve before the due date any technical difficulties you have with this project. If you encounter technical difficulties that you are unable to problem solve, seek assistance from university technical-support staff as soon as possible.

Assignment Overview: Select ONE subject to photograph (e.g., an egg, a tree, a bracelet, a sock, a raisin, etc.). The subject can be an object, a person, or any other thing. Take at least twelve photographs of your subject as directed below. Then, write a short essay to accompany your photographs that explains why you picked your subject and describes the process of photographing it.


Part I: The Photos

Using a digital camera (the standard camera feature available on most cell phones will suffice), photograph your subject in such a way that makes it appear a) other than what it is, and b) other than how it is. In other words, the composition of your photographs should be such that your subject is unrecognizable and appears to have qualities that it does not actually have. Finally, c) compose one photo in which your subject is recognizable.

The photo portion of your essay should consist of no fewer than twelve photographs. When arranged top to bottom in relation to one another, your photos should suggest a narrative (a story) that makes an argument about your subject. In order to accomplish this narrative effect, each photo should be distinctive from and also related to the other photos. Your photos should not be so abstract that they could be of virtually anything. While the specific subject of your photos should be unrecognizable, there should be a single visible subject in each photo (all the photos are different positions/angles/etc. of the same object).

Part II: The Essay

Compose a short essay (using the persuasive tools you’ve learned thus far) to accompany your photos that accomplishes the following (not necessarily in this order): a) reveal the subject of your photos (e.g., explains that your subject is, in fact, an egg), and explain why you chose it for this project; b) describe the process of photographing your subject and discuss how that process is similar to and different from the process of composing a term paper; c) comments on the importance of arrangement as a stylistic technique, both in this project, as well as in traditional composition; and finally, d) answers how you may approach and think about the importance of arrangement in your future work.

The purpose of the essay is to reflect on the art of composition and its relationship to persuasion. Do not use your essay to “explain” your photos or the narrative that they tell. The photos should “speak for themselves.”

Arrange your entire photo essay in a single document (written portion first, photos second) attached directly into the body of the document 1 on top of another, until you’ve put all 12 (or more) photos in a vertical row. Please note, you will find this assignment’s rubric under the Assignment details on Canvas.

5 Pages