From Interactivity to Digital Fatigue, Canon Ambassadors Share Their Predictions for the Future of Visual Storytelling

Through the lens of leading international photographers and videographers, including award-winning photojournalist and New York Times contributor Ivor Prickett , plus two-time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Muhammed Muheisen, Canon reveals a series of expert predictions set to shape the future of visual storytelling.

Each second, we can access digital stories at the tip of our fingers, and the advancement of technology allows us to tell stories in a more compelling and immersive way, creating new opportunities for both creators and consumers.

As acclaimed portrait photographer Guia Besana  states, storytelling “will change a lot through new generations”, so what does the future hold for visual storytelling in a more technological and politically charged world?

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Viewer-led storytelling in an interactive world

Our experts predict that AI and AR technology will be central to the emergence of ‘viewer-led storytelling’, with audiences demanding greater control over content viewpoints.

Within the next decade, we could be at a point where viewers will be able to take control of how they view an image, from adjusting lighting or changing camera angles, for an entirely interactive and personalised experience.

Commenting on this trend, Simeon Quarrie a celebrated filmmaker who uses the power of moving and still imagery to create immersive storytelling experiences, says “Social media algorithms decide which stories you see based on your viewing history, but the algorithm of the future will dictate the structure of the story that you watch”.

Muhammed Muheisen agrees, adding “The tools are changing, technology is taking over. Social media is all over the place. It’s like a train that moves so fast, and you’d better be side-by-side with it, or you will spend ten years trying to catch up.”

Technology is no longer a passive tool used to virtually follow the lives of others. Increasingly, storytellers are looking to create an interactive experience. “Imagine watching a movie or a TV series. The shot and the composition remain structured, however the visuals inside the story change”, Simeon adds.

This trend is already informing how viewers engage with content, with the recent announcement by a major streaming platform to release at least one interactive title every three months. Media analyst Kevin Tran at Variety sees this as a targeted approach to engage audiences in compelling ways across an increasingly competitive media landscape.

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The democratisation of storytelling

Portrait photographer Guia Besana , whose work focuses on women’s issues and identity, believes that over the next ten years “storytelling will embrace a broader knowledge. It will bring new stories with new points of views.”

The proliferation of social media means that regional stories have increased relevance and significance on a global scale, as the documentary filmmaker Laura Bisgaard Krogh  points out. “[We should] tell stories that are really important. For us to do so, everyone has to be involved.” As imaging technology and social media become more accessible, more local stories can go global. “Technology makes it possible for me personally to reach millions of people within seconds through social media”, says Muhammed.

As we look to the future, we anticipate a growth in the appetite for visual stories that cross geographical borders. This is highlighted by the fact that 50% of streaming content for European markets is expected to be non-English language programming by 2030[2], emphasizing the demand for stories outside of viewers’ culture and customs.

Digital fatigue in a nostalgia fuelled world

Whilst we live in an increasingly digitized world, our experts predict that the power of print will have a role to play in support of the visual storytelling experience due to the emotional connection it brings.

Explorations of humanity allow storytellers to cut through the digital noise, or as photojournalist, artist and photographer Tasneem Alsultan puts it, we make space for things that “trigger feelings”. She doesn’t “see print dying anytime soon” due to the intrinsic beauty and nostalgia it inspires. Instead, digital and print will continue to co-exist in harmony to create an emotive experience across physical and virtual spaces, that can make us all storytellers.

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