Artistic Differences

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? Holly Suttle debates

Holly Suttle
19th October 2015

With all our modern day technology, cameras built in to every phone and Snapchats flying about faster than the speed of light, is literature being lost through the art of photography? Or are we simply expressing ourselves in a different way, through the gallery of Instagram as opposed to a painting in a real gallery?

"everyone has their own opinion and answer for this question"

Many could argue that over the years, through the production of comic books, every animated drawing there IS worth a thousand worths, even with the added subtitles. As a literature student, I still don’t fully believe that every picture can be worth a thousand words, but I do believe that many photos can be worth many more than a thousand – maybe even three thousand. Or even an entire novel. The difference between image and text here is the fact that whereas a photo of picture can be ambiguous, text is set and unmoved.

"a blazing red in any photo or painting can be construed as powerful"

Text can only be rewritten by the authors themselves, and is therefore unchangeable in regards to its subjective meaning. On the other hand, a photo or painting can be interpreted by its on-looker in various ways; each individual will take something different from the style and artistic design of a painting, or interpret a different emotion to the colours associated within a photo. For example, a blazing red in any photo or painting can be construed as powerful, dominant or a colour of force. However, many people often associated the colour red with love, romance and passion. Despite this, the colour red is also constructed as the colour of anger and hatred, which opposes the alternative interpretations on so many levels that it becomes questionable whether we see the same things in art as other beings. So can a picture really be worth a thousand words, when that one thousand words we interpret from an image might be different to another’s?

"in a deeply artistic personality analysis, we humans have the same problem"

Everyone has their own opinion and answer for this question.

My answer is yes.

Like the image, literature is also interpreted in different ways. Heartfelt displays of love in some literature can be described as revealing weakness of character by some literary critics, whereas some may see these type of scenes described through text as a strength or courageous action to put oneself at the risk emotionally. In a deeply artistic personality analysis, we humans have the same problem through personality conflicts. You might interpret a friend’s body language to being rude through their outspoken nature, where others will see that they are simply opinionated and brutally honest. Shyness can also be misconstrued by outgoing people as being stand-offish, or cold, despite a person not meaning to come across this way.

Linking back, this shows how important the role of individual interpretation is, especially when it comes to the arts. Photography, painting and writing are all art forms in themselves, as is the opinion and personality of a person.

So if you believe a picture is worth a thousand words, then it truly is.

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