Can You Use Photoshop to Tell a Story?

A sculpture at work

We are ‘creative types’. We like to make stuff.

That usually means starting with nothing – an empty page, a blank notepad, a sheet of paper – and slowing adding stuff to it. Typically we might add elements like:

  • Words
  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Photos
  • Code



But that’s not the only way to create something new. You can create by removing items. If you think about it, a sculptor’s great talent is just knowing exactly which bits of rock to throw away.

This approach can work really well with visual imagery too. Here are two of my favorite examples where ‘taking away’ parts of an image tells a new story.

WWF (World Wildlife Fund)

WWF - Photo with shark fin - photo without fin

(See full size)

WWF took a brave approach by choosing to avoid the usual cute and endearing pandas, lion cubs and seals pups commonly used in their ads.

If you can’t quite work out the text – I had to scale it down for this email – the first image with the shark fin is labelled:


The second image simply removes the shark fin and adds the label:

‘More horrifying.’

It’s impressive that they are able can create a sense of sadness by removing a shark. WWF used this theme with other animals including a vulture.

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Source: Sitepoint