How many times in your life have you heard this old adage? For me, I’m putting it at a million to be one the low side. I’ve also said it to my online class with the BPSOP and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops as many times. One picture is worth a thousand words can fit all types of applications, for all types of people.
The quote has been attributed to several sources throughout the years from a Chinese proverb to Arthur Brisbane, a newspaper editor who said it in 1911. In any event the meaning has really come to light in the digital era as truth in our new transparent culture. It’s now talked about ad nauseam in social media, but the simple fact is that it’s all about being able to (very quickly) convey so much meaning with so little or no explanation at all in one photograph.
For my fellow photographers it especially has meaning since we talk about it in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “stretching your frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet. Just let your image do the talking for you since you’re not going to be around to share your thought process with the viewer. Unless you’re going for an abstract in which case you’re leaving it up to others to see what they want to see, then it needs to be what I refer to as a “quick read”.
If you’re trying to tell a story, then get to it because it’s not easy to hold the viewer’s attention for very long. Imagine that you’re a cinematographer shooting a scene at twenty-four frames a second. Stop the projector and take one frame out and show it to the viewer. That’s what you’re up against when you’re shooting stills and have to portray whatever it is you’re trying to portray in one image…not like motion where you have some time to get the message across. Btw, did you know that one page in a screenplay is equal to one minute on the screen?
The methods we use to gain attention to our photography varies, but what’s important is how we manage what the viewer perceives and processes when looking at the visual information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph. Visual input is a part of our everyday life, and when you’re trying to gain attention, by telling a story, we want to take immediate control of what the viewer sees when contemplating the message we’re putting out.
In other words as the Notre Dame football teams were know for…”rock em sock em” when it comes to telling it in one photo.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be making my third trip to Cuba in a couple of weeks. I still have one spot left so come join me and experience Cuba the way it is now, not the way it will be soon. My new “springtime” workshop is now posted on my blog. This time it’s in Sicily, so for those that’s always had this wonderful country on your bucket list now would be a good time to see and photograph it.
The end of July marks my twenty-eight year at the Maine Media workshops. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself for a week and think about nothing but photography. It’s the same week as the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland, and offers a completely different set of photo ops than the beautiful Maine coastline, amazing lighthouses, and quaint fishing villages. The full description is at the top of this blog.
I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.
Keep those photos and questions coming it to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.