A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words? Is that US or Euro? – Michael S. Webster

That old saw “A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words” has been going through my head lately.  Even before seeing that TED Talk in class last Monday where one camera angle shows a squad prepped to defend and air field, and another showing the same scene but as a prearranged photo-op.  It has to do with watching some documentaries for a couple classes, including
“Grizzly Man” and “The Pat Tillman Story”.

While a thousand words can tell a story about a photograph, or even a video, does it actually reflect actuality?  Forget whether it represents reality, I’m not sure there is such a thing.  “Truth is subjective, Facts are immutable”.  What is actual and factual about a photograph or video where composition and angle can change the entire story and become, in essence, a lie.

In this class we are tasked to compose a picture to tell a story.  The challenge is in putting that image together so it tells the story we want to tell, and not one that the audience crafts for themselves.    Even in video, the scenes, the order they are shown, and whether they are shown at all is up to the director.  Even a ‘documentary” which has had the reputation of being factual isn’t necessarily true . . .

So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, and that picture is, in essence, a lie, is a lie worth 1,000 words as well?


One thought on “A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words? Is that US or Euro? – Michael S. Webster

  1. meaganmthornton February 26, 2015 / 3:57 am

    Michael, your post was very insightful. Framing is essential when composing a visual piece. I believe that perspective engenders context, or sheds further light into it. A picture may be worth “a thousand words,” but are there more words to be told?


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