Pictory magazine’s photos+stories

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Pictory magazine takes something incredibly simple -- a photo and a caption -- and makes it art. Like the radio show ‘This American Life,’ each issue has a theme -- and with a good theme, a single large-format photo and caption really become a story. Like in these two examples from the Feb. 17 issue, ‘The One Who Got Away.’


Krasivaya: “pretty” in Russian. It was never hard to take a good photo of Lidia during our four years together -- she smiled often, and she loved the camera. It was much harder to acknowledge that we were on different paths. But I wouldn’t change a thing; we both grew into beautiful beings. -- Jonah Pauline

To the Five Boroughs. The minute I stepped off the bus and into Washington Heights, we were no longer just close friends. We ran down the streets at night, drank wine in the park, took in musicals, and marvelled at museums. The city was alive all around us; I had never been so happy. This magical week turned into months of distance. Things had been easier when we were friends. I chastised myself: I never should have visited, and I never should have gone back. Sometimes you fall in love with a city instead of the person in it. -- Johanna Fulk

Pictory has been around since December 2009, and editor/designer/curator Laura Brunow Miner has run enough solicitations and themes to put up a new set of a dozen or more photo stories every few weeks. There are features on food that make the mouth water, and neighborhood secrets -- like this used bookstore -- revealed.

As fun as those are, they tend toward the literal. It’s when the photos and captions are trying to express an idea or emotion that they really become stories; some of the most interesting stories are in the issues on returning home and growing old. Pictory magazine’s big photos and well-told stories emphasize the storyteller’s point of view; the focus quiets the Web’s noise.

It’s enough to make the storyteller pick up a camera, or the photographer try to fix the right words. Upcoming themes include portraits of London, Danger, and -- just in time for Mother’s Day -- ‘Sorry, Mom.’

-- Carolyn Kellogg