IS A PICTURE REALLY WORTH THOUSAND WORDS..?


Ten years ago or so that adage might have been valid. In an age of increased use of social networking sites such as the likes of Instagram such expression is starting to lose its essence.

Today a picture isn’t worth that much, certainly not thousand words. All one has to do is log into Instagram (the whole concept of posting pictures to ascertain how high it’ll score on the popularity scale is beyond me) or Facebook (I can live with this one) and all the other countless sites (I still refuse to join Twitter) and your news feed is overloaded with zillions of filtered, photoshoped, air brushed, purposefully one angled pictures of nothing in particular.

It is no longer about one’s artistic ability to capture a picture, a form of art that would convey to others everything associated with the picture least not the photographer’s ingenious. Now all you get is a lousy picture of someone’s mug and if you are lucky and the person can be bothered to explain as to why they saw the need to take such horror and commit it forever to the virtual world; then all you get is an idiotic expression (malapropism is intended) denoting that the person is either happy or sad; presented in the form of a parentheses indicated by a colon followed by crescents atop your 9 and 0 keys.

I mean seriously!!! When did human interaction reduce to such omnishambles? (Yay for omnishambles being 2012 word of the year and frankly the only good thing to come out of that year). But why is the person happy, how are they happy, what was the process of reaching such happiness like, are there different stages of happiness that they ought to share with us, will there be another ‘selfie’ that will portray the next stage of happiness and so on and so forth…!!! You see answers to such penetrating questions (at least to me) will never be known. Let’s be honest here once you press that upload button those “selfies” aren’t YOURS. Ask Zuckerberg I am sure he can furnish you with the intricacies of his latest privacy policies.

Don’t get me wrong I do appreciate a good picture be it a selfie (ideally of Will Smith, then hey I am drooling sister) or that infamous picture of Sharbat Gula with her piercing bluey green eyes that commit to your soul.  Whilst such pictures do epitomise aptly every diminutive data of such visualisation – you know I will be digesting every detail in a Will Smith selfie and rightly so (NB: I am only hoping assuming that he does take selfies, imagine if he didn’t what a travesty! Focus woman Focus). Nonetheless, as I bring my parentheses to an abrupt halt: It is safe to say that I am a sucker for a different type of art – the word format!

There is just something about words that are so fixating and fascinating. A word to me is worth millions of pictures. There is a whole conundrum of things that come with words; from etymology to connotations and unlike a picture words evolve over time. The wicked witch of your parent’s era isn’t so wretched anymore. Wickedness is indeed something to be celebrated these days. To quote Julian Sorrell Huxley “words are tools which automatically carve concepts out of experience.”

So when basterdised English words such as selfie infiltrate into the Oxford Dictionaries Online and is heralded to be the THE word of 2013 it renders me speechless. If words are tools that carve concepts out of experience then the only understanding I have of this word is pouty images of Kim Kardashian. I can already foretell future generations encumbered with the etymology of the word selfie: “a word that was made popular by people {twats} who saw the need to contravene the virtual world with endless pouty pictures of their faces and derrières and sometimes simultaneous glowers of the two”. Surely this is a crime against our future generations, no? A downright insult to our good counsel…?! Am I the only rational thinking human being who is nonplussed by it all? And no I firmly refuse to acknowledge the various selfies that appear in this post underlined in a squiggly red line wanting me to verify them and subsequently add them to my dictionary…hell NO!

…..and the score at the end of that is: duck face luminary Kim Kardashian – One, good counsel of men and women- nil! Quackity quack quack. The saga surrounding the preservation of the English language from impurities continues….

“Every spoken word arouses our self-will.” So utilise those words carefully (and those selfies too!)

Sharbat Gula

Photographer: Steve McCurry Source: nationalgeographic.com

Photographer: Steve McCurry
Source: nationalgeographic.com

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8 thoughts on “IS A PICTURE REALLY WORTH THOUSAND WORDS..?

  1. The proliferation of photographic equipment — if you want to include cell phones in that you can (I don’t, but should) — has negatively affected the market for really GOOD photography. But it has also set the bar higher for those of us who take it seriously and always have. I know I’m a better photographer now than I was. I was good before, better now and far much more skilled at post processing having finally acknowledged that digital is here it stay. There are a lot of pathetic photos around the Internet. But there are brilliant ones, too — quite a few of which, even a few years ago, would never have been seen by anyone but immediate family and friends. So there’s a down side (it’s much harder to make a living at photography!) — and an upside. I’m not fond of overprocessed images, but a little processing skillfully applied can really make a good photo really pop. Digital processing is still a relatively new art form. It will sort itself out over time. Sometimes, patience is the key.

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  2. P.S. The saying is “A picture is worth a thousand words.” If you’ve ever written non-ction, you’d know how true it can be. An illustration is probably worth more than a thousand words, especially to the reader. But a million? I don’t think that’s ever been true, except maybe in a court of law during a trial.

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  3. Pingback: Twitter Trawling | Capsule Creations

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