Three stories, three shots: How storytelling and photography align

June 20, 2019

For as long as people have travelled the world, they have returned home with stories to share. National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures connects adventure-loving families to our world through storytelling traditions, from the ancient to the modern. Among Morocco’s sandy dunes of the Sahara, gather fireside to listen to Berber stories retold on the very land they were first shared. At a water puppet show in Hanoi, see how this centuries-old storytelling tradition brings popular Vietnamese legends and folktales to life. Step behind the waterfall Seljalandsfoss in Iceland and chronicle this inspiring land through photography’s visual storytelling power. On a National Geographic Family Journeys tour, discover how stories can bring families closer together, and closer to getting to know our world.


What’s the story: The story of Morocco’s Berbers is the story of Morocco itself. Berbers are the North African country’s Indigenous people, having inhabited the country since — some historians believe — around 10,000 B.C.E. When you’re there, you’ll hear directly from members of the Berber community about how today’s Berbers live in Morocco — how they keep their homes, earn a livelihood, and maintain their traditional way of life as the country continues to modernize. You’ll share tea with Berbers in their dwellings as you learn more about an ancient culture that’s steeped in pride and tradition.

What’s the shot: Be sure to take a photo — with permission — of your Berber hosts as they pour tea. According to Berber (and general Moroccan) tradition, the higher the spout of the teapot is held from the cup, the longer you’re welcome to stay.

Check out our Morocco Family Journey tour here.


What’s the story: Iceland is a country where mythology and folklore are woven into history and tradition. But when it comes to the country’s famed Seljalandsfoss falls, the story you’ll go home telling is how, because of the way these falls jut out from the rock, you can actually walk directly behind the falls. Pay attention to your guide — and watch your step — as you walk behind the 60-metre falls, taking a peek behind this cascading, beautiful curtain of water. An unforgettable experience that will make an astounding story for your friends and family back home.

What’s the shot: Be sure to take a photo of your travelmates — and also get a quick selfie of yourself! — behind the falls. Protect your camera from the water by making sure you have a good grip, and by wearing it around your neck to make sure it doesn’t fall to the wet, hard rock. A photo will be of good use when you want to prove to your friends back home that, yes, you walked behind an actual waterfall.

Check out our South East Asia Family Journey here.


What’s the story: In Hanoi, you’ll experience the art of water puppetry, a storytelling tradition that dates back to 11th-century Vietnam. Water puppets are used to tell stories of Vietnam’s history, and is also used to illustrate the day-to-day cultures and traditions — notably rice cultivation, as the water is used to symbolize a rice paddy — of Vietnam. An orchestra or live band usually accompanies the performance, adding some dramatic flair to the storytelling.

What’s the shot: During the performance, try to wait until the puppets are still enough to take a photograph of the show in progress. Flash photography will distract the performers, and can be a nuisance to your fellow audience members. And, as always, make sure you’re allowed to take photos at all — if not, images of the performance venue will help you recount your experience watching a water puppet performance once you’re back home.

Check out our Iceland Family Journey here.

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