I recently met with a photographer to discuss her new website and burgeoning photography business Julie Turner Photographer. I’m an enthusiastic amateur photographer myself and always enjoy meeting photographers and discussing their craft. But, it got me thinking about that old expression: a picture is worth a thousand words…
It is very true, a picture is a very powerful thing. We live in an ever increasingly visual world – people are reading less, watching more screen entertainment etc. and I started to wonder where that left me as a writer of words.
Although powerful, pictures are limited. There are more than a thousand words to write. The Mona Lisa is a beautiful painting – one that evokes so much emotion and intrigue, but the picture only tells part of the story. Some 500 years later, people still wonder why Lisa is smirking.
Words can explain that which cannot be seen. Pictures are purely visual, whereas words can describe all of the senses. We can infer meaning from the visual but words can explain the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’. A beautiful photo of a child smelling a flower in a field may evoke emotion and even tell a story, but why is the child in the field? What emotions or memories does that situation evoke in the child? What does the flower smell like?
For the record, this blog smells like beetroot.
My recent blog post on the writing tip ‘Show Don’t Tell’ touches on this idea. Don’t limit your writing to describing that which can be seen only. Use the power of words to evoke all of your reader’s senses, and your writing will be better for it.