Engaging audiences through compelling stories

The panellists at yesterday's discussion, Photojournalism in the Age of New Media, were (from left) photography curator Yumi Goto and award-winning photographers Kazuma Obara and Warren Richardson.
The panellists at yesterday's discussion, Photojournalism in the Age of New Media, were (from left) photography curator Yumi Goto and award-winning photographers Kazuma Obara and Warren Richardson.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

It is important to engage audiences in the creative process, but what matters most is having a unique story to tell.

Despite the changing media landscape, award-winning photographers Warren Richardson and Kazuma Obara and photography curator Yumi Goto believe in the power of a compelling story. They were discussing the topic, Photojournalism in the Age of New Media, yesterday as part of a series of sessions held in conjunction with the 2016 World Press Photo exhibition presented by The Straits Times.

Of the three, Mr Obara, 31, a freelance photojournalist based in Japan, uses social media for his work most actively, posting behind- the-scenes photos, something that he said helps his audiences understand his final product better.

He also used hashtags to research his award-winning photo series on people living in Chernobyl, where a nuclear accident took place in 1986.

However, Mr Obara does not post his finished work on social media, as he feels the platforms are not appropriate for his storytelling.

Mr Richardson, 48, a freelance photojournalist based in Hungary, said: "Social media makes people bored of the images, because you see them everywhere. The meaning behind the image can get lost."

Secretary Tan Hwee Kien, who is in her 40s, enjoyed hearing the personal stories from the panellists. "It helped me to understand how they might have felt at the point when they took those photos," she said.

The panellists were sponsored by outreach partners, political foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Press Club.

Said KAS Asia director Torben Stephan: "The World Press Photo awards are an outstanding expression for media freedom."

Today, Mr Richardson and Mr Obara will speak at 11am and 1pm respectively.

ST photojournalists Caroline Chia, Mark Cheong, Neo Xiaobin and Kevin Lim will share their experiences at talks on March 12, 19 and 25.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Engaging audiences through compelling stories'. Print Edition | Subscribe