A Picture Needs a Thousand Words

by Ian

in Design, Images, Motivation, Topics

You’ve heard the saying “A picture says a thousand words”.  That however is only when you know about the image within context.

This image to the left is a ? (the answer is at the bottom of this post)

Hair Split End

It makes no sense without context.

Without context it could be one of many things.  That’s the very reason we have captions under images when we publish. That’s the reasons why we place comments under or on the back of photographs. To add context to the image and give some understand of the background of the image.

In a recent episode of This American Life several stories were about home movies and how all families have movies (or images) of the same subjects.  Young children, holidays, school performances, special events like weddings and the like.  You know what I’m talking about, you have taken the same shots and seen the same from other people.  Almost never do you see the everyday aspects of life or the difficult teenage years of children as the shrink from the prying fish eye lens of the camera.

When we look at these “boring” photos that everyone takes(even within our own family) the only importance is the context that these images mean to us.  If the image is of some old fella sitting in a chair 150 years ago we care little for it.  If we find out that they are our great grand father then it’s an entirely different story.  A new born baby all red and smashed about with a distorted head from birth will have little meaning but to know that the baby is ours in some way suddenly makes it the single most beautiful baby ever to exist.

It’s all about how we relate to the information, to the context of how it fits into our life or how it may relate to us if we were placed in a similar situation.  Too often we don’t realise that it’s the stories that accompany the images that mean the most.

When producing your own Life Story you are adding context to the images, documents, films and other artifacts of your life.  If you are only telling a story with no accompanying information the listener is creating images in their own mind, relating to how it would be for them in this same situation or imaging from things they have seen in the past.  Describe a horse drawn vehicle and we all imagine what one looks like from images we have seen.

A picture may say a thousand words but only if we have the story behind it.

Tell the story, relate the story to the situations of the images and suddenly the photos, movies and documents become cherished artifacts of your Life Story meaning infinitely more to everyone.

What do you think?  How many times have you had discoveries of things because you suddenly understood the context of the item?
Comment below to help us understand more…

Note – The image above is the end of a split end human hair under high magnification.

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