Words and pictures and storytelling

octopus' garden in the shade

I love words and pictures and storytelling. And I love playing with tools that help us tell our stories. So it’s no surprise that I’m having great fun playing with  Flickr Poet from Stories in Flight which I discovered last week from a colleague’s flickr stream. Pop in a poem, song lyrics or just random thoughts and see what you get!

Flickr poet pulls in photos from flickr that match your words in some way. Click on “Show Story” over and over to get different interpretations of your words. What a great way to enhance a poetry or storytelling project.

For a school project, it might be more interesting to have students pick out photos themselves and create their own presentations.

Tools to find photos

Finding photos is pretty easy, finding photos that are licensed for reuse under Creative Commons can be a bit more of a challenge.

Flickr and the “Big Three” The big search engines, Google, Bing & Yahoo, all have image search tools. Yahoo has a filter to limit to “Creator Allows Reuse” that appears at the top of an image search result. Google’s Advanced Image Search has a “Usage Rights” menu to limit a search. I can’t find any similar filter in Bing. Flickr also has a Creative Commons search option on the advanced search screen.  All of these tools have ‘safe-search’ options that can help limit to ‘appropriate’ photos, though nothing can be totally reliable in this regard.

Sprixi is a new photo finding tool that looks like it will be terrific. I played with it a few weeks ago and was really impressed with how well it matched photos to my words. And best of all, it searches Creative Commons licensed photos and creates a copy of the photo with the photographer’s credit line attached.  Unfortunately, it’s not running at the moment. Hopefully it will be back up soon. In the meantime, you can find more info about it on MakeUseOf.

Compfight has an option to search only Creative Commons photos and displays lots of thumbnails for easy comparison.

Tag Galaxy puts a totally different spin on photo searching. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a limit for Creative Commons. Still, it’s so much fun to use, try it out.  Enter a term, watch the orbs spin and swirl and find other related words. Click on a related word to combine those words. Double click on the orb in the middle and photos will swoosh in from flickr. Very cool interface.

There are tons of other photo search tools available, these are just a couple that I recommend. Would love to hear about others that you’ve had good luck with.

Creating Stories

In my Digital Storytelling classes we look at lots of tools for creating stories with pictures, video, words and music. On that resource page, you’ll find links to Alan Levine’s terrific 50+ Ways to Tell a Story, Joyce Valenza’s wiki page full of links to Copyright-Friendly and Copyleft Images and Sound and much more.

Three of my favorite tools for creating a photo and text story are:

  • Glogster -  use this to create a photo poster with words and music (and more!)
  • Animoto – upload your photos, add your text, pick some music and let Animoto create a video.
  • PhotoPeach – Like Animoto, upload photos, add text and select music for a video.

What are YOUR favorite tools?

7 thoughts on “Words and pictures and storytelling”

  1. Pingback: polly
  2. Pingback: Buffy Hamilton
  3. Pingback: Martijn van Beek

Comments are closed.