Johnathon F. Portly, Amateur Photographer – A Digital Story

Shortly, Portly…

“I’m freaking out, I’m almost positive that I’m being followed. 000 is already dialled in. Seriously I’m a little worried. Maybe I’m crazy..?”

-J.Portly via Twitter

Shortly, Portly: The Synopsis

Johnathon F. Portly is a typical student and amateur photographer, who has recently started a blog to get his photographs out in the world!

But what happens when a mysterious figure starts appearing in his photographs?

Is it just a mere coincidence? It has to be, doesn’t it?


Johnathon Portly – Student and Amateur photographer

Get to know him better and follow his story through his blog or via his twitter!

Melissa Del Toro– Best friend to J.Portly and Aspiring Fashion journalist

Get to know her better through her blog or via her twitter!

For the creation of a digital story which we entitled “Shortly, Portly”, my group consisting of Conor, Evan and I, decided to take a more creepy direction and base our story around the issue of someone being stalked.  After listening to the  visual storytelling and digital storytelling lectures  by Jenny Weight/ Geni Wate, we came to the conclusion that the best way to explore this topic would be to keep it simple and go for an image-centric digital story, through the use of still photographs.  And so our idea was born, utilising WordPress our main character Johnathon Portly would have his own photography blog in which he would  post a selection of photographs he had taken just for the fun of it.

These photos had to be planned perfectly, the composition especially important. This was due to the fact we needed to incorporate the unknown figure in the background in a way that seem not placed and that was subtle enough not to be noticed when looking at the first few sets, yet obvious enough in the last few that it would make you question his presence and look back through past photos to see if he was in them also. Creating an almost game-like challenge to uncover the mysterious figure in the photo sets.

We then created an additional character Melissa Del Toro, a friend to Johnathon; the creation of this character allowing interaction as well as the addition of text to the photographs through the use of comments. Twitter and WordPress blogs really allowing us to develop their personalities, relationship and progress the story along. The climax of the story built up through comments by Melissa on John’s blog, paranoid tweets by John himself and worried tweets regarding the whereabouts of John to indicate he was missing.   It also allowed an internal social media marketing strategy to take place, the blogs linked to the twitter accounts and vice-versa; a strategy that seems to be working already receiving 331 views all time, 275 of them in the last day!! We also implemented an external social media marketing strategy retweeting from Melissa and Johnathon, and tweeting links to their blogs from our personal twitter accounts.

We decided to leave the conclusion of our story rather ambiguous, a puzzle to challenge the audience’s creative minds and allow them to decide what happens to Johnathon Portly. The below video embedded onto his blog as his final post, Melissa’s final post a newspaper article and plea for help across both twitter and her blog spreading the message that Johnathon was still missing.

The Newspaper Article

Overall the digital story telling task was a fun one! My group collaborated really well, and the creative and productions process were new and exciting ones. This final task encapsulating what I feel the whole Networked Media course was trying to explore, the way social media and the internet can be used together in new ways, ways that can spread messages and tell stories

Links to all media content utilised to tell the story:


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