Updated: Sep 24, 2019

A narrative in its basic form is a story, these narratives exist in multiple forms of imagery as simple as text to something as complex as a moving image. however with this in mind how simple could this imagery be? Could a story be told simply through a single word? possibly; the world “help” tells a story that is open to interpretation by the audience. A single image, be it photograph or a painting they can tell a great story wether it is complex or simple a single image can contain more words than a book.

Figure 1 (US Army, 1933)

This image (figure 1) of a american soldier caught in the image of a war photographer, can perfectly encapsulate the story of the liberation of the Auschwitz POW camp. Although this was seen as a major turning point in the war this image shows that although the americans had liberated the camp, for the most point, what should of been a joyous success, they were too late for 90% of the population. The face of the soldier reflects the torment of war as well as the horrifying images that he has been met with as he expected to become a war hero. the soldiers in the background, fixated on the amount of bodies left in the sun by the Nazis. This image could be said that it shows a sequence of time in both the instance of the soldiers face fixed in the moment as well as a nod to the time it has taken to arrive at this image. The pure fact of the colours of the image also tells a story of itself, the image is black and white with very little grey areas, this shows that the image is purely ‘black and white’ it is what it is.

Figure 2 (Cave painting, 15000bc)

The oldest known form of a narrative is that of cave paintings, they were used to mark history of the people of the stone age as a form of diary, each on getting updated with major events, the animals they drew were marks of the animals they had killed or seen and the use of humans marked who was present at these hunts. it is also assumed that hands were used as  a type of census marking age at a time and amount of people in the tribe. This would of told the story of time of the tribe including births, deaths and approach to maturity. This could essentially be a menu that also reflects size and depth within the image, something that children struggle to use within drawing

Figure 3 (Delacroix, 1830)

Figure 3 is of Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix, this very famous painting is said to be a first hand modern interpretation of the french revolution during the time, a still image amidst the battle from memory. It depicts time in the form of a final push being helmed by liberty holding in one hand the flag, the symbol of her country and the icon they are fighting for and in the other a gun, giving her a form of credibility to lead this heroic charge of a revolt. She stands atop a pile of bodies as if she has finally desensitised herself from the situation. The image shows strength with the pyramid composition also reflecting the chain of command and life.

Figure 4 (Marvel, 2010)

Figure 4 is of marvels iron man, now rather than just being this single comic strip, comic books in general show a story from start to finish in some sections it can tell a story of a specific time without the need for text, however in most comics, text is used to show dialogue as well as emphasising a movement. The rate in which these comics are read is generally the time in which the scenarios happen, however in some cases this can be paused by the use of text such as “3 hours later”.

Figure 5 (Disney, 1991)

Figure 5 shows the storyboard for Disney’s Aladdin. The storyboard tells a narrative or a section of a narrative along with a time based use, the closer the similarities of each cell, the longer that action is taking, in this storyboard we see very different images in each cell giving the impression that the action that is being sequenced in this storyboard is quick and high in movement.


US Army, (1933). The Story of Auschwitz. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2016].

Cave painting. (n.d.). [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2016].

Delacroix, E. (1830). Liberty Leading the People. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2016].

Marvel, (2010). Iron Man. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2016].

Disney, (1991). Aladin. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2016].

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