Sabin Howard Blog
Visual structure of storytelling in A Soldier's Journey
Note: We are delighted to host a new posting this week by Sabin Howard. Sabin is a renown sculptor who is working with our Centennial Commission to create the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. Sabin'S sculpture for the memorial, A SOLDIER'S JOURNEY, is envisioned as a larger-than-life-sized bronze wall, that depicts the personal, yet universal, experience of a soldier who goes off to war. In this post, Sabin talks about composition and story structure, as it applies to this special work of art. -- Chris Isleib, Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission
By Sabin Howard
A Soldier's Journey balances a range of opposing feelings and actions in the same epic composition.
It reflects both what is civilized and what is savage about humanity in a story that explains The Great War.
Detail from the Memorial sculptureThe ideals of heroism, family, and caring are juxtapositioned with the violence, terror, and aggression of battle in the WW1 relief sculpture.
The WW1 relief sculpture is uniquely suited to fit within Pershing Park because it is a multifaceted view of humanity and because it goes beyond the traditional glorification of men in battle.
It is a complex story that narrates the full spectrum of human feelings.
Clarity in visual narration has been established through simplicity of design and structure.
The geometry of the structure is laid out in this way with meticulous purpose.
The purpose is to create a universally understood story regardless of age, culture, or society.
Structure of a Story
A Soldier’s Journey is divided into 3 acts; a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Each of these sections is equally divided into beginning, middle, and end.
Each section of the story thus has a start action, a movement or transition in between, and an end or exit action.
The mathematical spacing of the parts is the story and that spacing is critical for the understanding and clarity of the visual narrative.
Sabin HowardBecause each section has opposing feelings and actions at each end, a specific distance is needed to bridge the gap.
The transition between the opposing feelings has to be a certain distance in order to create visual clarity in the story.
Pacing is critical for clarity in telling this story to the Memorial visitor.
The Spacing between these parts is how I have created pacing.
For example, you cannot ram a battle scene into a quiet scene; nor can you lurch from a quiet scene into an energetic scene without the proper transition and spacing.
Parts need to build into each other and flow with the correct rate of energy and speed to maintain harmony of the whole.
Transitions are crucial to all forms of narrative storytelling, whether visual, verbal, or musical.
Read more: Visual structure of storytelling in A Soldier's Journey
Tales from the Trenches: The U.S. National Archives World War I Army Division Records Online
By Suzanne Isaacs
United States National Archives
Last April, the National Archives embarked on a two year commemoration of the United States’ entry into World War I.
We created a World War I Centennial portal which highlights educator and genealogy resources, articles.
We also created a multimedia timeline, events and exhibits, and archival records documenting the U.S. experience in the conflict.
And you helped make these records more accessible through our World War I tagging and transcription missions.
Across the National Archives, archival units prioritized the digitization of Word War I records. The series "Records of Divisions, 1917 - 1920" was recently digitized and added to the Catalog. Within this series, you will find remarkable and moving accounts of war through unit histories, station lists, operations reports, messages, field orders, correspondence, general orders, special orders, bulletins, and memorandums that document the service of each American Expeditionary Forces combat division during its participation in World War I.
These records are the focus of a new transcription mission for our citizen archivists. Take a look and help us transcribe these incredible records! Within this series, you will find remarkable and moving accounts of war through unit histories, station lists, operations reports, messages, field orders, correspondence, general orders, special orders, bulletins, and memorandums that document the service of each American Expeditionary Forces combat division during its participation in World War I.
Read more: Tales from the Trenches: The U.S. National Archives World War I Army Division Records Online