Are photos really more powerful than words?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by landrum_kelly, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. I will deliberately leave the simplistic and dichotomous formulation of the question for others to restate as it suits their purposes for elucidating their own positions.
    What provoked my thought in all this is that I have spent a good bit of my life attempting to rebut the arguments of the so-called "just war" theorists--with words, of course.
    Then minutes ago I watched this:
    (I think that the shot of the mother bending down over her son, bleeding but looking up at her, touched me the most. I wonder if he lived.)
    Awareness of the horror of war has not stopped human beings from fighting, of course. I simply wonder to what extent photography might yet help to accomplish what words have so far failed to do.
    P.S.: This post is dedicated to my dear friend John Crosley, who combines words with pictures so very well:
  2. Nothing has ever stopped the horrors of war.....nothing! Not sanity...not religion, not anything. So the conclusion that I am forced to come to is that we do it because we like doing it. Otherwise we would have stopped it thousands of years ago....but we haven't....
  3. Their are words and words. John C.'s written words are indeed more powerful than so many others. What formally stops most war in modern time are surely written and signed words. I have up till now never seen a peace agreement made in photos.
    More seriously war mongering can only be stopped by democracy taken over from special interests of powerful lobbies and here I agree that images of the horrors of war do play a great role. This role is surely understood by our governments.
    Reference to the decision of not showing images of the dead Ben Laden in order not to provoke strong reactions from radical muslims throughout the world, just like decisions of not releasing images of dead soldiers "coming home" tells a story of the understanding of the power of photos in modern time. What presently happens concerning unbearable shots of Kadhafi lying dead on the floor of a butcher shop continue that same story line.
    We are all maybe more manipulated by photos and the lack or availability of it, than liberated. It is therefore not photos (or words) that will stop or provoke wars but their use, in the hands of people in power. The 99% and the use of internet (Youtube, twitter) could threaten that power of governments and special interest groups in the coming years - if it is not already happening.
  4. I think if you stack a bunch of photos and flip through them at about 30 photos per second the result is something that
    is more powerful than both words or single photo.

    Examples would be the recent macing by New York Police officer Anthony Bologna of a non violent peaceful netted
    girl. And the video of the Chinese toddler run over by two vans and ignored dying in the street by 18 passersby.

    The first one has helped ignite a worldwide movement of dissent. The second has caused a national, worldwide, soul
    searching of what makes us human, and inhuman.

    No words or a single photo could have described either effectively.
  5. When I was the editor of a weekly newspaper, I told my photojournalist that the best front-page, stand-alone photo is one that needs no words to go with it, but he must write the words anyway. That is a tough assignment, but he gave it to me on average about five times a year.
  6. This might seem a crass response to the way you have framed the question but it could have some value. There are clinical studies that deal with comparing text and visual information. The mind requires very little data to fully recall a picture. But I suspect you are seeking more aesthetic or comprehensive emotional responses. My gut feeling is they are about the same but I could be talked out of that. Intuitively it seems reasonable that photos would stick in the mind more often than text. Their message is swiftly delivered, if not concise. Whereas text has the advantage of less ambiguity. Reading "Another 125 people were killed today." and seeing pictures of mothers and their dead sons every few days as we do will have a cumulative effect with the photos winning out in message.
    Poetry (as does the music you referenced), of course, aims for the imagination and emotions in a similar way as photographs. The most satisfying expression of that I often repeat is that like poetry, pictures get between the words.
  7. What I try to accomplish is to make photographs of people that are happy. I had a family photo session this morning with a lovely couple and their two children. I was fortunate enough to be their photographer in 2005 for their wedding. I have many clients who like what photos I create of them. They have become my friends.
    Last weekend I was fortunate to make business portraits of about 40 Mary Kay ladies. What a wonderful experience!
    War is terrible. As a combat action veteran I know it first hand. Many who have no experience, talk about it, watch movies, look at photos and hear stories. For those of us who had active involvement we'd just as soon forget. There are better things to focus on with human existence. Let's work on those. That's what I do. And my clients seem to like that philosophy. Smiles!
  8. Images can be used to support war as well as support anti-war. How many Americans watched videos of the WTC towers collapse and wanted to get "even"? Words too can have the same effect. I remember when Bush went to ground zero afterward and said "we heard form them, now they'll hear from us". Very simple words spoken very quietly that got a huge cheer from everyone present at the site. I felt at the time I heard them were words that united and galvanized Americans to war.
  9. One single photo can mean allot of things. While it takes allot of words to mean allot of things...
  10. You argue your position using the tools at hand. Whether through words or images, or the combination of both as in a movie, your goal is to touch another person's mind in an agreeable way for your point of view. As for which tool is the best tool - it all depends on the circumstances and how many blows you must strike to build your case and fend off the opposition. The ultimate outcome will help you figure out how well it went for you in hindsight.
  11. [​IMG]
    In my opinion, whether a photograph such as the example above heightens awareness of the horrors of war presupposes a certain degree on the part of its viewers. During the time of the VietNam war, photographs such as this made an impact on American society because there already was considerable effort to end it. Such photographs had catalytic effect.
    I would like to think that contemporary photographs, such as the youtube piece Lannie provided, can play a similar role. The sad reality, though, is that present society is numb to violence, including violence accompanying a war. Even worse is the fact that effecting any significant change has been drowned out by the incessant noise created by apathy.
    OK, I guess it's time for me to disappear down the rabbit hole again.
  12. Oops . . ., left out a phrase in my last post. Following "degree", I forgot to include "of sensitivity."
  13. In my opinion, whether a photograph such as the example above heightens awareness of the horrors of war presupposes a certain degree of sensitivity on the part of its viewers.​
    Thank you, Michael. I have restated your sentence with the missing phrase inserted. Yes, the impact does vary depending on the degree of sensitivity, and over time we seem to have become somewhat desensitized--or at least that is what others above have said.
    There are yet efforts by the authorities to prevent the taking and dissemination of images--and to prevent correspondents from getting into certain areas of action. I think that John Crosley addressed this in a recent forum, but perhaps it was someone else who was also a correspondent during the Vietnam War. It certainly is more nearly the case today in the wars fought in the Middle East--except when the same authorities want to be sure that the corpses of deposed dictators are seen and analyzed.
    Clinton's call for an investigation into the circumstances of the death of Ghaddafy indicates that the public relations engines are working overtime--we will no doubt get more images as a result of any such investigation, in case there is anyone who has not seen the photos already. It is interesting that no shots of Bin Laden were revealed by comparison. I understand that such images would have created even more followers, but again we see the role of the government in deciding what will and will not be shown--to the extent possible. Thanks to the internet, however, it is will be increasingly hard to prevent information flow--including both words and pictures. Authorities can always be counted on to try to show or prevent the showing of this or that, depending on how it suits their own political interests (probably of greater concern to them than national security in many instances).
    In any case, we can also become desensitized to words. The "pacifism-just war" dispute has been going on for centuries, and neither side seems to be able to be able to make many converts of the other. I wonder if it will always be so.
  14. Double post.
  15. They are both forms of communication the photograph has instant visual communication and is easier to recall. However, words can go deeper in their way.. communicate a deeper meaning than just visual expression.
  16. Allen - Whether words "go deeper" than photographs is a matter for another thread. (For the record, I disagree.) In my opinion, a person whose sensitivities have become so deadened that graphic photographs of the atrocities that accompany war won't spur that person to action probably will not be affected by verbal descriptions of such atrocities.
  17. I think that we're also more desensitized to pictures today then in the past. The constant display of images on YouTube the web and elsewhere, the realism of Hollywood movies,the immediate cell phone images displayed from the place of action, real-time, has lessened the impact. Most people see them and think that well, it's just another picture, I've seen "worse". It'll take a more dramatic picture today to have the effect of many in the past.
  18. Part of the problem, for me at least, is that 'old' technology gave us the images, and the words of the photographer, the editor or even the viewer, but rarely the words of the subject. That fact often removed a lot from the story being told. We had to rely on the truth of the words used as caption or accompanying the images as editorial content.
    Today we have convergent devices which enable first-hand accounts to be easily distributed, and the immediacy and involvement this enables is a powerful combination, subjects own voices can be heard, in real time. But authenticity and accuracy (truth) can suffer because 'stuff' gets out so fast.
    Of course lies have always been told (as propaganda), but the difference with modern digital devices is that the incredible speed of sharing means that stories, even if wildliy inaccurate, are often actually shaping news as it happens, and once the genie is out of the bottle it's really hard to get it back in.
    I dont personally think images are more or less powerful than words. There are good images and bad, and wonderful words and words I'd rather not hear. Poetry, as mentioned before, is a wonderful art, which can summon mental images and feelings that photographs could never hope to approach.
    Which is a good moment to recount one of my favourite poems, by Tomas Transtromer, who recently was awarded a well-deserved Nobel Prize for Literature.....
    From March '79
    Tired of all who came with words, words with no language

    I went to the snow-covered island.
    The wild does not have words.
    The unwritten pages spread themselves out in all directions!
    I come across the marks of roe-deer's hooves in the snow.
    Language but no words.
    ©Tomas Transtromer (translated by John F Deane)
  19. Lannie: I suspect that, during the VietNam era, there was plenty of effort - organized and otherwise - to censor photographs taken in war zones or to restrict photographers from being in those areas. My gut feeling is that a dedicated "war photographer" will find a way in, and also a way to display his/her work. I am sad to say that my jaded perspective now makes it difficult for me to think that photographs of that genre will make much of a difference, inasmuch as people in general are not overly bothered by government interference with photography.
    Alan: It's not just a matter of desensitization. It's also a matter of apathy.
  20. This OP inspired me to think of the indelible images among the zillions I have seriously and repeatedly looked over. They came to mind like a slow slide show. There is only a comparatively small amount of text I recall and then only vague impressions, not literally. There was a time, of course, when the exact opposite was true for everyone. Memorized verses and epigrams were familiar discourse rather than images. Images then were only symbolic references with no new content.
    Looking at photographs as we do here makes us atypical. As a visual rather than verbal culture do we loose a great depth of understanding?
  21. As a visual rather than verbal culture do we loose a great depth of understanding?​
    Alan, I'm sure you are right in that observation on our contemporary culture, if you by the word "verbal"refer to reading and writing and not only spoken culture, as the word actually means. Images and films are increasing in importance for us all, also for understanding the world. But more for some than for others.
    Also in this field we are experiencing an ever deeper segregation in society with a great majority that, as you describe it yourself, have little writing, reading and maybe even speaking culture left, but more and more, a visually based perception of the world. And, a much smaller group that add to the visual culture, the writing, reading and speaking culture that especially higher non vocational education, whether formal or informal, still provides. It is not the 99% against the 1% - but maybe in most countries the 80% against the 20%.
    To answer your question : "do we loose a great depth of understanding", I'm convinced that we do, with great consequences for democracy.
  22. Anders,
    I meant memorization and recitation - passages from holy texts, poetry and the like. The question then becomes whether, measured against memorized words, pictures are less affecting.
    Language appears to have devolved into a form of imprecise pidgin supplemented by images that are no more than gestural attempts at conveying information. Some sort of synergy is hoped for, I suppose, but how their vast numbers must muddy our recollection!
  23. Sorry Alan, I misread you then. However, memorization of images and that of textes, cannot, as far as I see it, be taken as identical to understanding. They are of different order. What I think one could do is to consider the importance the images and words. Our whole understanding of the world we live in is based on our capabilities of designation words to what we see or hear or feel by our senses, in the real world or for that sake in images.Images and whatever they provoke of emotions, can never do it alone without words.
    Therefor when you ask a question like : "As a visual rather than verbal culture do we loose a great depth of understanding?" it becomes non-sensical, because the visual and the verbal (as you use the term) cannot be split. To say it simply: those with many words (great vocabulary) are better equipped to memories more easily images. Whether it brings understanding, is an another and even more complicated question to answer. To take an example. The hundreds of words for "snow" that the European Sami people uses and memorizes (words and images) does not in any way bring higher understanding of how and why such different "snows" exist or are produced.
  24. Suppose fear is more fundamental than reason. Suppose arguments/claims about the presence or absence of logic and justice for/against war are glosses, pretty wrappings made to promote or explain what is at core irrational, chaotic and primal. Suppose theories about "stopping" war are a view from the outside, dealing with manifestations (violence, pain), not the root cause or lack of cause, lack of reason, a lack of logic; fear.
    When Georges Bataille says: "The search for truth is not my strong suit (above all, I mean the phraseology that represents it). And I should now put this forward: more than truth, it is fear that I want and that I am seeking: that which opens a dizzyiing fall, that which attains the unlimited possibility of thought." ... do you have any sense of what he's talking about? The attraction of the "dizzying fall"?
    If pictures of war are seen not as logical claims/arguments of wrongness, but as fear-generators, fear-stimulants, don't they have an entirely different effect on the viewer than what is being suggested in this thread?
  25. If pictures of war are seen not as logical claims/arguments of wrongness, but as fear-generators, fear-stimulants, don't they have an entirely different effect on the viewer than what is being suggested in this thread?​
    If the "power" that this thread talks about is the power of generating fear, Georges Bataille would still be demanded if he finds that in photos more than in words. I would expect him to answer : the "cruel practice of arts".
    To what degree the "dizzying fall" in terms of understanding goes beyond the phraseology that represents "truth", is still to be answered.
  26. I'm getting tangled in this thread! I see that we are not discussing intentionally memorized pictures or text or words. We are comparing individual modes of ambient memory recollection - (about war is the example). We are wondering about their essential evocative qualities. The clinical studies I referred to earlier found that only a handful of neurons have to fire to gain a comprehensive understanding from a very small sample of stimuli. (There is also a statistical probability calculation involved. ) Whichever of the senses we are individually most fluent with may likely be the one that evokes the stronger response. I agree that individual as well as cultural types show a significant variability in their relative responses to pictures or text.
    Just to throw out this goofy thought: What if a sort of text/image pidgin language evolves to have a significant potential for art, grace, and clarity? It seems as if the mind with its ultra economical recall scheme wants that to happen.
  27. "Allen - Whether words "go deeper" than photographs is a matter for another thread"
    Why? I thought that was the theme of the thread.
    "Are photographs more poweful than word"
    And my answer was, yes , words/prose/poetry are more powerful because they give us a more meaningful deeper understanding a bigger picture. Why because we can interact with the writer, feel what they are feeling, become part of the poetry/prose in an emotive imaginative way.We become entwined with their feelings and emotions we walk with them for a while on the journey they have travelled.

    Two examples.
  28. Allen: You obviously are correct with respect to the title of this thread. However, my statement was made based on the context in which the posts of this thread have been made - whether photographs more powerfully depict the horros of war than words. For whatever it's worth, everything you stated above applies equally to photographs. If you disagree, please take a careful look at Fred Goldsmith's posts in various threads on this Forum.
  29. "For whatever it's worth, everything you stated above applies equally to photographs"
    I don't think so, Michael. The two examples I've given are of people who have actually lived the experince of war and tyranny. They are sharing their fear, feelings and emotions with the reader in a deeply personal way. I do do not think an image nomatter how powerful can achieve that sort of intamicy and understanding of the horrors of war. A Photograph can demonstrate the cruelty and horrors of war but a strong piece of writing can actually take you into the minds of those who were actually there and reveal the horrors in a deeper more personal understanding way.
    " If you disagree, please take a careful look at Fred Goldsmith's posts in various threads on this Forum".
    I would much rather read the thoughts of those who have actuallyy suffered and are sharing those thoughts than your internet mate... although I'm sure he is a wonderful clever person, Michael. Just personal choice.
    I found this an insightful article. It may give you a fresh idea on this thread as well, which funny enough consists of words.
    If anything, each type of media works different, appeals different and has different effect. Not either/or, not better/worse. Just different.
  31. Allen: I suspect that Wouter has a productive response to our "debate". People do react differently to different media.
    "I would much rather read the thoughts of those who have actuallyy suffered . . . ." One final point: although this clearly is a statement of your personal preference, mine is not to prejudge the possible impact of a photograph because I may happen to think that verbal expression is more powerful than its counterpart in the photographic world.
  32. I was reading Annapurna (1950) by Maurice Herzog some decades back, and even after all these years I can remember how I felt when he described how he felt as he saw one of his gloves sliding down the mountain even as the summit ridge was still ahead of him. He was somehow able to convey the mystic beauty of the mountain that drew him on up to the summit, at that point never before climbed, even as he knew that the choice to go up rather than down after he dropped the glove could cost him a limb, if not his life. As it turned out, he lost all of his toes, to the best of my recollection--and yet he described his joy through the intense pain of having his toes thaw and then rot on him as he tried to make his way back to civilization. The most compelling words were yet those describing the lure of the mystic beauty of the mountain as he pondered his choice to go up or down.
    I think that writers can provide context, and sometimes photographers can, too. At other times, however, photographers momentarily have to become writers in order to convey the full context within which it is possible to feel the full impact of a photograph.
    In at least some situations, that is, words can be more powerful than photos, in others, no.
  33. WW! (Wow Wouter!) Thanks for the great blog. Lots to chew on. Looking forward to seeing what "book futurism" is all about.
    I'm thinking that rather than dumbing down, technology has dumbed up. Blogs and such don't use or have editors. Even smart, insightful people can't write well without editing. The old writers and typist quip is more fitting in these times than ever. Work that aspires to be literature or even formally correct doesn't benefit from editing it just flys upward and downward. Much of what is up-loaded (can't call it publishing in the traditional sense - as pointed out in article) is written in the vernacular. The idea of some sort of homogenized graphic/text/sound/whatever, is a double disaster for clarity and art.
  34. [Crickets chirping.]
  35. "mine is not to prejudge the possible impact of a photograph because I may happen to think that verbal expression is more powerful than its counterpart in the photographic world". Michael
    Neither do I have any prejudge against a Photograph but to my mind words go deeper. Notice we are using words to express our ideas and thought on this forum. However, I think Wouter has nailed the answer on the wall to the original question....
    "I"f anything, each type of media works different, appeals different and has different effect. Not either/or, not better/worse. Just different"." Wouter
    "Crickets chirping"
    "What is that supposed to mean, Luis"
  36. Allen: I'm really a stubborn s.o.b., so I'm taking another stab at this. What about instrumental music? I have been so touched by such music in various genres, my experience is capable of description only by one word - Wow!
  37. Is it fair to say that some things cannot be expressed by words or photos? I am not sure that a novel describing being in love, or a photo showing a couple in love, could possibly convey the feeling of being in love. Still the questoin remains: can photos convey the phenomenon of being in love better than words to someone who has never been there but who has reached puberty and sort of gets the idea?

    Yep, Luis, those crickets have had more to say than most of us, although the chill up here has driven most of them wherever crickets go for the winter.

    The clouds are drifting nicely across the moon tonight, though. I just said that. I can get a photo of it, too.

    Say, can someone get a recording of crickets chirping?

    Things really are hopping on this thread. Yessiree. Why doesn't somebody just shoot it and put it out of its misery.

    I knew I should have posted a question about nudes. Maybe someone can impel Mike Palermiti to go out onto the beach tomorrow to capture that which words cannot express:

    Ah, the wonders of philosophy. . . .

  38. As requested:
  39. The problem with words is language, including the understanding of words/terms within a language. The problem with photographs/pictures is their inadequacy in portraying context, which is why they need words to support them - indeed changing the words that support a photograph can completely change the impact of an image.
    e.g. - "He killed her". - what does this mean? Manslaughter, murder, legal execution, he ran her over, justifiable homicide (whatever that is) - perhaps he had her in fits of laughter. etc
    e.g. - a picture of a very old person is just that, make of it what you will. But we could support the image with any number of phrases which can completely change the impact of the picture. 'Mr. Smith before he died." "My grandfather, still going strong at 95". "Mr. Smith following his jail sentence for child molestation and murder'. 'Mr Smith the last surviving weaver of fine cloth at the mill'. Same picture.
  40. Stephen: Can you please conduct a quick experiment? Take a look at this photograph, and provide the words (or some words) that are needed to support it.
  41. The sea rushed out before the Tsunami struck.
    60 years ago on this very beach Allied forces were cut down in machine gun fire.
    The cold light of the turn of the day reflected the her mood.
    A fine example of the use of long shutter speeds to give a sense of calmness.
    Time seemed to stand still for them.
    10 seconds later the Dolpin surfaced in front of us.
    Each set of words guides/distorts the viewers own perception. No words are necessary, however without them (which includes any title) a photograph becomes a 'loose cannon'. In the this case the photographer has attempted to lead the viewer in a particular direction.
    It would be interesting to know what somebody who has never seen the sea would think of the photograph, compared to somebody who has - would the 'message' be the same, of course not, each of us brings our own 'baggage' when we view an image.
    A picture of US soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan being watched by the locals will have entirely different messages to both parties - words will assist in clarification, but if those words are in a foreign language......
  42. Alan, glad you liked it. While I do not 100% agree with that article, I did find it a very refreshing view, and it is correct in pointing out those things that text does excellently.
    Allen, it wasn't my intention to nail the answer to the wall. It was just my opinion, and frankly maybe also a testament to the question's weakness. Why does one has to be more powerful than the other? Does that really matter? Or, if we manage to communicate clearly - didn't we do our job properly then? Be it in words, be it in images, be it with a mixture of those?
    A picture speaks a thousand words. It sounds often so very true. And it is true at times, and at times it's very much not. It is simple statement, and it clouds a much more complex matter. A bit like one-liners like "l'histoire se répète", a false simplification of matters that are too complex to catch in a few words or a single photo.
  43. Stephen, consider a series of photos, documentary work. Photos sure can support their own context that way. And some photos communicate great because of their lack of context as well. What you seem to imply is that an image should faithfully reflect the subject that was captured, and transmit that message. But for a lot of photographers and photos, that really isn't all that important.
  44. Luis,
    Real Crickets? I was hoping for something hip esoteric like Buddy Holly and the Crickets' first album Chirping Crickets.
    Ooo-bop, wop-bop-bop Ooo-bop, wop-bop-bop
  45. Wouter,
    "What you seem to imply is that an image should faithfully reflect the subject that was captured, and transmit that message".
    Absolutely not.
    To me, 'communicate' means the transmission of a message from one person to another. Without supporting text/prose/words/title, can a photographer ever be presumptious enough to assume their message is clear and unambiguous? Nearly all the docmentary photography I have seen is always supported by some sort of text - the photographs become illustrative and are rarely capable of getting the right message across unaccompanied (of course any viewer will see something in a set of photographs - if they actually look at them, I'm astonished how many people don't, especially photographers, but that's another post - but seeing 'something' doesn't mean communication is taking place).
    Of course, I fully accept that even with the most illustrative photographs and the most graphic text, some people will still fail to get the message.
    I think we also have to accept that any photograph is specifically a fabrication that the photographer uses to portray the message they want to get across - even more so in today's digital media - we have to accept photgraphers are 'honest' in their representations.
    An interesting thought. 'Looking down the street, you can see City Hall in the distance' - is a fairly simple statement. However a photograph showing the scene down the street to the distant City Hall, will tell you what sort of street it is, maybe the kind of neighbourhood, local ethnic mix, which side of the road the people drive on, stray dogs, litter, etc. etc. - so much extra information that the message 'down the street is City Hall' is lost in other messages not intended by the photographer.
  46. Stephen, you're killing me.
    Luis, I now have two crickets in the house. I will let you know what happens. The other one got in a couple of weeks ago and I cannot find it. Maybe this one will lure him out--if it's a "she." (Are there gay cricikets? For all I know, we may now have two male crickets vying for domination of my domicile.)
  47. Stephen,
    can a photographer ever be presumptious enough to assume their message is clear and unambiguous?​
    No, but in my last post, the last sentence was there to make the point that the message in a photo sometimes does not need to be clear and unambigious. Just like poetry can be very ambiguous, just as humour uses ambuigity frequently.
  48. Are photos more powerful than words? Well, they are two different mediums. Could Shakespeare have DRAWN King Lear to equal effect? Probably not, and has any film of his work been as good as seeing it live? I personally don't think so.
    For certain artists, at certain times, and with the right audience, yes, a photo is far more powerful. But in different hands of equal talent? Maybe not. I like making photographs, and I like stringing words together, but I don't think either have some inherent worth outside of my skills.
  49. Interesting and profound,and several are certainly worthy photos, but do ANY of those photos describe the emotional content of those injuries? Not really. Those photos say, "I'm now comfortable enough with my life to share my disfiguration with you." But do any of them even hint at what those women went through emotionally?
    No - They do not. Like I said earlier. different mediums, different audiences, different artists.
    I would suggest to you that many of the words found at this web site are at least as powerful as your photos. (Note: I don't necessarily agree with ALL the conclusions drawn from those stories, but certainly, I am capable of recognizing the power of the belief held by the authors.).
    You might also want to look at the book, "5 Lessons I Didn't Learn from Breast Cancer", by Shelly Lewis. Great Art? Maybe not, but certainly it provides a perspective that the photos you suggest do not.
  50. "But do any of them even hint at what those women went through emotionally?"
    And there you go.
    A visual image can only tell part of the story.
    It is all about communication and the most precise accurate form. We started with cave drawings and them moved to...well, we all know the story. And then we had words and vocabulary.
    Perhaps in the future we might have pure thought is all about the clarity/precision and depth of communication.
  51. Glen- Those are not my photos, but thanks for thinking about me. I did not link to them to start a competition over who understands breast cancer better, or best. Yes, different mediums, different artists, different messages etc. I don't remember the OP asking if images and words were identical or even equivalents. But are there not scenes in your history, the images of which stay with you, but the writings about the scene escapes your memory? Sure there are, just as there are no pictures that convey the meaning(s) of the Gettysburg Address. Remember the words written about the photo of the boy in front of the tank in Tiananmen (sp) Square? Me neither. Get my point?
  52. If we move into the world of Art then everything becomes equal in its power of comminication.Words would not suffice for a painting/photograph/music ,neither would a painting/photograph/music suffice for words.
    The talent and the vision is the ultimate power.
  53. Gary - the more we 'dialog' the closer we sound philosophically. Some things need words some need pictures, some need both. I just don't see how anyone can say one medium is more 'powerful' than the other. The power is in the artist anyway, not the medium.
  54. So many words, so few photos. Yet, on the walls of my room I have photos, not words.
  55. To Jim Jones, Yet you were unable to tell us that graphically. You could show us your walls, but could you guarantee that we would notice the lack of words there? I don't believe you can accurately compare the power of one with the power of the other.
    BTW, do not confuse the single word with the single image. One is but a single element of a work of art and one is (hopefully) a complete work of art.
  56. Apples and oranges question. The two overlap in power only occasionally. Both, unfortuately, use lots of clichés, which diminish their power except to gullible or undemanding audiences. But originality in either does not always demonstrate visual or grammatical power. As a doctoral student I inserted in my thesis three invented words that I developed and which I believe were necessary to properly describe the phenomenon I was attempting to discuss. The examiner, very conservative, was not impressed, but he kindly overlooked them as being secondary. Highly original photos and texts have equal high power, but the rest of the field cannot be easily compared and I believe it is as senseless to do so as comparing Oxbridge to Harvard or jazz to the music of the baroque.
  57. I've also made the photographs by using rubber stamps..
    thats really very nice to make it..
  58. " Apples and oranges question"
    Not really, Arthur. They are both about communication.
    Birds of a feather.
  59. In one sense, yes. One is "look at the birdie", the other penned using a "feather" plume.
  60. In one sense, yes. One is "look at the birdie", the other penned using a "feather" plume." Ha,ha, Arthur very witty.
    But they both in a sense have feathers.
    And birds of a feather flock together...
  61. Okay, Arthur, let us take a simple route; forger the flora, the mountains, and the birds and bees.
    Cave drawings were nice, stringing pictures togerther was nicer...then guess what!
    Communication,Arthur, nothing to do with Apples or Oranges. Now, Art....

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