Is a picture still worth a thousand words?
Photographer Chase Jarvis posted this thought last week:
“If you’ve ever questioned the power of an image, consider the current news cycle. The US government has decided it won’t show images of the dead Bin Laden.
If you’re wondering why, the answer is simple.
A photograph–an image–is an incredibly powerful thing. It can be a tool, intentionally or incidentally. It can tell an entire story of a month, year, decade, or a generation, captured in perhaps just 1/1000 of a second. An image can change a life, end a war, start a riot, bring someone joy, inspire a revolution, open or close a debate. An image can move the world.
My point has nothing to do with the governments treatment, or lack thereof, of the Bin Laden image…should or shouldn’t, left or right in America, good versus evil, or any other debate along political lines. That is not my point, and this is not the forum here for those discussions. Don’t go there. Instead it has everything to do with the proof of the power of an image. Therein lies the only reason that this debate rages on. If it weren’t powerful, there would be nothing to say.
My point is a simple one and specifically this: if you’ve ever doubted if, in this modern era with technology moving a light speed, whether there is still respect and value for the 130 year old concept of a photo, think again. If you’ve ever wondered if the power of a photograph is waning, think again. The power of a photograph is at an all time high.
Sometimes we… need these reminders.”
I needed that reminder last week. I need to be reminded that the that the images we create are powerful. They freeze a child’s smile, the connection of a family, the moments of bliss, the first dance….moments that can never be relived or revisited. I hope that I don’t ever create an image that starts a war, but I do hope the images we create inspire love. I hope that for years after we’ve photographed their wedding, when a couple looks at that portrait hanging over their sofa, they will be reminded of that special day, and remember why they fell in love in the first place. I hope that the families we’ve worked with can look at the images of their young children… the one with those bright blue eyes, the one with the toothy grin, the one that didn’t cooperate, the one that moved away right after high school… and remember that life moves so quickly and that investing in those we love is of greatest importance. I hope that every time a high school senior hands out a wallet or grad card, they are able to say “This image represents me. This is who I am.”
Photographs are powerful, and it’s a large part of what makes our job worth getting up for. It’s what literally keeps me up at night, working after the kids are in bed, because I know that we’re giving you something that can never be replaced… freezing time, so that someday, when you’re sitting around a table with your kids and grandkids looking at a photo album, you’ll have pictures that are worth 1000 words.