What is a Photo Essay?

A photo essay is an attempt (essay) to understand a place (and yourself) through the images you make.

For myself, my chief aim is to communicate my feelings, thoughts, emotions, and soul through the images I shoot.

For example, my photos currently here in Hanoi, after being away for around 2+ years:

Figuring it out as you go

I like the idea of being flexible with your photo essays. Choose and select the photos you best feel convey your emotional and aesthetic mindset:

No pressure

A photo essay (as well as a written essay) is simply an attempt. And attempts aren’t meant to be perfect. They’re meant to be genuine, honest, and direct:

Have fun with it!

With photo essays, some tips:

  1. Distill your images through your trip and life, and keep distilling. You don’t need to create a final or ultimate edit/selection of your images. Just keep iterating your photo essays, and work on them however long you desire to.
  2. With photo essays, don’t worry too much about the individual image; consider the overall emotion, message and theme you’re trying to communicate through your essay.
  3. There’s no lower or upper limit for number of photos in a photo project, especially with digital and online publishing. My photo essays have ranged from 3 images to 300 images for a single essay.
  4. Create your own rules for yourself: Good to study the rules of others, but don’t commit yourself to the tyranny of others. Learn from the masters of the past, but ultimately listen to yourself!

Essay (attempt) on!