The Three S’s…Series, Serial, Sequence

Learning about photography has been quite satisfying in trying out new techniques or visualizing your images. I often think in the story and sometimes one image just doesn’t cut it. So I think now in series, serial and sequence. 

In my examples, I focused on the ocean, specifically at the 1st Street Jetty in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I wanted to focus on how the water changes as the first light hits the waves or the sand. I really was watching the water and the sand instead of the sunrise - everybody looks at the sunrise. Next time look at everything else but the sunrise, the color of the light is quite beautiful on the water. I started with three images and went to five but you can have more. I did play with a swipe method on the sequence images which turned out ethereal. Try out a grid technique on Photoshop. 

Se-riesA number of things, events or people of a similar kind or nature coming one after another, a set of books, maps or other documents (photographs) published in a common format under a common title.

Creating a series of images or working in series means that you create multiple images that are presented as a group. Artists and photographers tend to naturally work this way as a means to explore an object as subject, explore an idea as a concept, explore or tell a story, explore one motif, idea, pattern, image, or theme – explore color, explore design, feed an obsession, or to develop an artistic identity, look or style. 

A series of images or a body of work may show a connection by a number of methods. A strong narrative my connect a body or work in that a group of images may be very broadly defined by title, headline or shooting script such as in a picture story. (Position and arrangement may connect a group of images, as is the case with sequential imagery). You can create a sense of continuity in a body of work by choosing a single subject or object to photograph. You can create a strong cohesive group of images by way of subject handling or by creating a particular approach, look or style. You can do a little of both. 

Think about unity and variety. What holds the work together? What makes each image unique? Consider construction and design and the use of the visual elements that are used in the language of photography. What elements are to be constant and what elements are variable? Think about composition and lighting. 

Se-ri-al – Consisting of, forming part of, or taking place in a series. of relating to, appearing in successive parts, belonging to a series maturing periodically rather than on a single date.

Serial imagery is a central idea of modern and contemporary art. The Impressionists and their contemporaries were the first to use it, for example Claude Monet in his Poplars, Haystacks or Rouen Cathedral. Serial images are also a group of images that have a connection. The connection is more rigidly defined than described in series. 

A few rules to help you get started:
A component of a serial image is a type of repeated form or structure shared equally by each work in a group of related works – created by one artist. Seriality is identified by a particular interrelationship rigorously consistent of structure and syntax. Serial images are produced by a single indivisible process that links the internal structure of a work to that of other works within a whole. 

The project may be extended indefinitely and consist of multiple bodies of work. With serial images, the masterpiece is abandoned. Abandonment of conspicuous, uniqueness of each image. Each single image in a series must be complete in it and may be shown in isolation. The strength of the whole gains momentum when shown as a group. 

Se-quen-tial – Consisting of, relating to or arranged in a specific order or placement. An order of succession or arrangement, a related or continuous series, a sequentially ordered set of related things or ideas. 

Think about how the flow of time is portrayed in a single image - blur, panning, extended time exposure, multiple exposures, painting with light, and multiple medias such as image projection. Sequence is similar to series and serial imagery in as much as it deals with numerous images. Particular to series is the order or arrangement of the group of images. 

A few rules to note that will help you get started. The project may be started and stopped, cut off at any time. The project may be extended indefinitely and consist of multiple bodies of work in a variety of mediums. Each single image in a series must be complete in it self and may be shown in isolation. The strength of the whole gains momentum when shown as a group. This sequence should be calculated to focus attention or alter the viewer’s attitudes regarding a relevant theme, or simply tell a story. 

These images may be presented together in the same document as a composite or presented separately, but close to one another. Think about a sentence and how punctuation works. Sequence has to do with momentum, rhythm and placement. Make sure to get in tight with the serial images and always always have fun with each individual project and get in touch with your creative side. 

Which ever technique you decide, just be sure to have fun and get in touch with your creative side.

Using Format