Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

It can be argued that photography and writing complement each other or that one is superior to the other. The reality is actually both. The words of a poem can be extremely difficult to express in a single picture but it can also be said that a single picture is worth a thousand words. In the same manner, a picture to give the reader a clear perspective can complement an article in a newspaper.

“Let photography quickly enrich the traveler’s album, and restore to his eyes the precision his memory may lack;…….let it, in short, be the secretary and record keeper of whomsoever needs absolute material accuracy for professional reasons.” The Modern Public and Photography, Baudelaire P. 88

Someone travelling through the conflict area in Darfur, could in essence, write page upon page describing the terrible conditions that people are going through. However, the reality is that a single picture showing the facial expressions, filled with terror and uncertainty, of a mother and child are stronger than all the words in the world.

Photography an art by itself, has the power that words may lack to create a direct connection with another person’s soul, dead, alive, in the past or the future, next to you, or halfway across the globe.


At 4:34 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

Baudelaire rejected photography as an art but recognized its value as a record keeper and fact collector.

Certainly the images coming from Darfur have done much to move people and get them emotionally engaged in the crisis. There is clearly a power there that mere words cannot convey.

But what happens when we become over-saturated with these horrible images? When they become banal and everyday. Pictures of starving children circle the globe on the web by the thousands. Are they losing their power?


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