As in what a picture is allegedly worth.
A phrase often deployed by the inarticulate as the gospel truth. Sometimes words just have more power to shift ideas, attitudes even philosophies. I suppose the medium all depends on the purpose. A novel can’t do what a film can do and vice versa but by and large, for me, reading the novel on which a film is based is usually the richer experience.
Sometimes though, it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and more. Sometimes it leaves you speechless and you find that it’s pointless to try to put it into words because the picture says it all without having to resort to words. What I mean by that is that sometimes, a picture can shift you in so many directions, awakening many impulses, sensibilities, emotions and stories so febrile and visceral that you have to go and lie somewhere cool for a while before you can unpack and sift through your response to it. And still it hides most of its secrets.
I only came across the work of photographer Francesca Woodman a couple of days ago when I met a visiting Italian friend of a UK based Italian friend. She didn’t speak any English but managed to tell me she was a photographer and loved the work of Francesca Woodman. Read more about her.
Let’s see what and how many words come:
eerie, spooky, feminine, gothic, crumbling, wasted, old, sensual, story, layers, complex, low fidelity, strange, earthy, hidden, shadow, wood, organic, fairy tale, consuming, dark, death, spectral, ghostly, subconscious, on the edge, water, flesh, paper, leaves, peeling, skin, chiaroscuro…
I could go on but even taken altogether, they won’t manage to do what a single one of these images manages to do. Sometimes a picture is a poem.