Sequencing Lecture

Sequencing is like making brownies really. In order to get the final piece, you have to have all the ingredients ready before hand, but also you need to have a way in which everything is going to work; just like a recipe. if we don’t have a proper sequence, we can be left by an end piece which certainly just doesn’t work at all; to get it right, you need to make sure you follow every thing to the last detail in the right order.

When it comes to sequencing, there are multiple ways in which we can have our narrative in the book:

  • We can have a flat narrative, in which in the photobook all there is is a collection of photographs. In some cases this can work well, but it depends on the subject area you are photographing though
  • The arc structure is similar to what we see in films: We start off fine when there is a disruption to the line causing us to try and see what has happened and restore balance to everything once again. However, whilst this may seem to be almost giving the viewer what they want with no effort, you have to be careful not to do the same with the photobook, as you want to make sure it is interactive all the time.
  • Perhaps the most common narrative is the cluster; in a cluster photobook it may seem a bit organized, but quickly you gather that actually the book is split into multiple sections that each require a different reading, but yet all relate together in one go.
  • What might be the hardest narrative sequence of all is the scatter; all the others before make the reader to some extent work to understand what is going on. With the scatter books, the reader has to draw their own links between pictures most of the time. This requires the theme to be very subtle within the book, as otherwise it would be too obvious to the reader then.

What we also have to consider when it comes to sequencing is the direct effect a picture will have on another. Each picture relies on the balance on the one before and after, as otherwise a completely different reading may be taken from it (one that may not be what the author wanted.)

Another aspect as equally important is layout and rhythm of the book. Do you want there to be a picture on every single page, or will there be a gap between pictures, resulting in one per page? The amount of pictures we have on show determines how fast we read them; for me personally having too many pictures on one page causes me to skip over everything, because just having the singular reputation makes me read into it more.


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