Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Worth of a Word

I'm a writer. My medium is words. But I've had other artistic interests, namely photography. To excel at either takes so much practice I had to pick one, and writing won. But in this, my hundredth blog post, I'm going back to photography.

Because a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

I now give you a three thousand word story about myself:





Get it? Probably not. Don't even try. Because when it really comes down to it, there's a reason books are full of words.

Words can convey more information, emotion, sensation, and meaning simultaneously than any other single medium. A picture might be worth a thousand words of visual description, but it has no other senses. Looking at those photos, you might feel the breeze at your back on a mountain top, but will you hear the eagles just out of the frame? You won't smell the liquid pouring from the bottle and know what it is. You won't feel what I felt or have any idea what would make an environmentally-minded neat-freak throw a glass bottle to shatter on the rocks below.

They're evocative, even interesting. But the story's not there in the pictures. Without the words, they're only images.

And—sometimes—a word is worth a thousand pictures.


(And if you're interested, the photos were shot with a completely mechanical Fujica SLR on real black and white film. Yes, I'm sort of bragging. I didn't develop it myself, though. And I tried scanning the prints, but wasn't happy with the image quality until I scanned the negatives. And lo and behold, there was a lot of detail in the negatives that hadn't made it to the print, especially on the second one.)

7 comments:

  1. Glad you didn't jump.

    I used to have SO much fun with "real" film. Kind of sad for the loss of that. At the same time, my creative outlets tend to change with time.

    Post pics once in a while. I likey :D

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  2. Jump? That would hurt! I have thought about trying to ski down it in the winter—but not seriously.

    The only that could make real film better is if every click of the shutter didn't cost money.

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  3. You gave up drinking.

    I'm pretty confident with that guess.

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  4. Oh and I should say that was my guess before I read any of the text. So I didn't read the part about you throwing the bottle. I figured out that was the bottle from the pictures. (And from knowing they were "together" and told a story.)

    Those are all nice pictures. I think the last is my favorite, although in a sense it's the weakest. In context though, it's the strongest. My eyes gravitated towards it more it since the focus on the bottle is sharp and it falls at a nice place on the grid the countryside makes.

    I dabble in photography a bit too. Runs in my family.

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  5. *sigh* I warned you not to try. The bottle was Henry Weinhard's Vanilla Cream. The others are root beer. Good stuff, both. I haven't given them up. And the liquid in the second picture is neither.

    Like I said, the story's not there. At least mine isn't. Plenty of other stories, though.

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  6. Okay, Ben.

    This post was a while ago . . .

    If you're busy, you could just post some more pics for us to look at.

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