Sunday, January 17, 2021

A picture is worth a thousand words

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways.

A picture is worth a thousand words
is an English language adage that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description. 

The saying was invented by an advertising executive, Fred R. Barnard. To promote his agency's ads he took out an ad in Printer's Ink in 1921 with the headline "One Look is Worth a Thousand Words" and attributed its to an ancient Japanese philosopher. 

What can pictures tell us that words cannot? 

Visuals are always more effective than the written word. Humans are visual creatures. Always have been. A picture is more colorful than a group of words, literally and figuratively. Tugged heartstrings evoke more emotions. Photographs are able to capture emotions that words cannot, no matter how cleverly they're used. 

Pictures are not only more effortless to recognize and process than words, but they are also easier to recall. And, just as we recall pictures better than concrete words, we also remember concrete words better than abstract ones. If we really want others to remember something, we should use words AND pictures together. Like here, in today's blog. 

"A picture is worth a thousand words" is an adage. So is "The camera never lies". Ah, but is that still true? Can we still trust our eyes with todays photoshop technology? I think I'll save the topic of Photo Manipulation for a future blog. 

An axiom is a statement accepted as true. An axiom is accepted as true, as the basis for an argument. When you have an adage that is ALSO an axiom, well then you really got something! 

OK, let's assume you are still reading my Sunday blog, and that you did not bail on me. 

Recently Freed Slaves - USA

Some common adages are: Birds of a feather flock together. Opposites attract. Don't judge a book by its cover. The clothes makes the man. The early bird gets the worm. Better late than never. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Better safe than sorry. 

The Pulitzer Prize - for Photography was established in 1942. Joseph Pulitzer suggested four journalism awards. By 1942 there were eight Pulitzers for journalism, and now we have two for photojournalism

Photography was complex and expensive not so many years ago. Today, every smartphone has a camera that is thousands of times more powerful than the most complex cameras in the days of Joseph Pulitzer. To win a Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism, you would normally have to be in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time - to catch the image that was indeed worth a thousand words.

Today, all of us - any one of us - could win a Pulitzer for Photojournalism, right? Today, we all have the ability to capture history, and to tell a visual story. We all have smartphones, where the images can be uploaded and shared with the world - in seconds. Ah but today, images can also be manipulated. The same technology that makes ALL OF US Pulitzer Prize Winners - can also harm and divide us to a degree that we never could have predicted. The technology of today can also make us amazing liars. And those lies can be told in shocking speed and volume. Just ask Donald Trump. 

On January 6th 2021, the Capital of the United States was attacked. Ah yes, the adage "Birds of a feather flock together" might indeed also become an axiom. We shall see. 

Do nice guys finish last? Was all of this a blessing in disguise? Well, let's not beat around the bush. To make a long story short, your guess is as good as mine. But it is very hard for me to give any of these people the benefit of the doubt. America: hang in there, but we DO need to get our act together! 

Ah, all of those words in the last paragraph would be Idioms, and I'll be saving idioms for another blog. Because for now, I'm going to call it a day. So cut me some slack, I'm not cutting corners. OK? 

I'm just still trying to wrap my head around these (potentially) Pulitzer Prize winning photos. 

Maybe a picture is worth a thousand lies?

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