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Thread: a picture is worth a thousand words?

  1. #1
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    Default a picture is worth a thousand words?

    we sometimes hear people saying that if a photograph needs the help of words to be fully expressed, it is a failure. what do you think?

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Some people get it, some don't. If I need to use some verbal/written explanation for the benefit of those who don't, so be it. Tan Swee Hian did an interview on T.V. a few days ago and he was explaining about a piece of his work, an artefact of a cake which his mum used to make for him. If not for his explanation, how would we have known that the artefact was done in memory of his mum?

  3. #3

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    what about Mt. Huangshan, Anhui?

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcn View Post
    what about Mt. Huangshan, Anhui?
    tell me

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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcn View Post
    what about Mt. Huangshan, Anhui?
    huh???

  6. #6

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    let me tell all, not ongly you

    a picture tell a thousand worlds; like Mt. Huangshan.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    tell me

  7. #7

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin View Post
    huh???
    think fuji
    头可断,血可流,倩女不可不追求 carpe diem,when in doubt, hoot first,apologise later:p GALLERY

  8. #8

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    yes, i think Mt. Fuji qualifys tooo

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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    maybe i should re-emphasize the question ...

    does it mean that if a picture needs the help of words to convey a certain expression or meaning, it has failed as a picture?

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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    Some people get it, some don't. If I need to use some verbal/written explanation for the benefit of those who don't, so be it. Tan Swee Hian did an interview on T.V. a few days ago and he was explaining about a piece of his work, an artefact of a cake which his mum used to make for him. If not for his explanation, how would we have known that the artefact was done in memory of his mum?
    i think you provided a good example of how a piece of artwork does not always 'speak the language' of the viewer/all viewers

  11. #11

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    i think not so

    Mt. Huangshan.

    Most paintings (OK, they not photographs but just analogy) of Mt. Huangshan have some Chinese "sayings" to supplement the painting.

    To me, with or w/out those words, both has it's place.

    Otherwise, tell me.



    Quote Originally Posted by eikin View Post
    maybe i should re-emphasize the question ...

    does it mean that if a picture needs the help of words to convey a certain expression or meaning, it has failed as a picture?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin View Post
    i think you provided a good example of how a piece of artwork does not always 'speak the language' of the viewer/all viewers
    Different folks, different strokes.....

    When I was in design school, we talk about theories, corb, mies, decon to complement an idea which in turn was being appreciated by the tutors(in a way, easier to communicate). Now if I were to tell my clients that corb was my inspiration for his 3 mil house, you know what reaction I'll get........

  13. #13

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin View Post
    we sometimes hear people saying that if a photograph needs the help of words to be fully expressed, it is a failure. what do you think?
    imho, i think every photo would benefit with the help of words either by way of an explanation of the context the photo was taken by the photographer, or by a well executed photo critique, in order for it to be fully understood and appreciated by the layperson viewing the photo. it does not diminish the merit of the photo. the same principle applies to any work of art, music or literature.

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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    Different folks, different strokes.....

    When I was in design school, we talk about theories, corb, mies, decon to complement an idea which in turn was being appreciated by the tutors(in a way, easier to communicate). Now if I were to tell my clients that corb was my inspiration for his 3 mil house, you know what reaction I'll get........


    well, depends on whether your client is a fan of corb or not, but if you do a frank gehry they'll probably know

    actually i started this thread because i still find people having this fixed mentality that a picture that needs the help of words is a bad picture. trying to see how widespread this mentality is, apparently not quite (yet?) ... that's some good news at least

  15. #15

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin View Post
    actually i started this thread because i still find people having this fixed mentality that a picture that needs the help of words is a bad picture. trying to see how widespread this mentality is, apparently not quite (yet?)
    Seems to me that you are implying that "this fixed mentality" is undesirable? Or is the "fixed mentality" that an image should have an explanation that is undesirable?

    Or can both co-exist?

    A lot depends on the intent of the photographer.

    When I do not explain the context, I leave everything open to interpretation. This can be interesting. Let me paraphrase Lichtenberg again "A photo is like a mirror. When an ass looks in, he cannot expect an apostle to look out".

    When I explain the context, then in fact I am forcing the viewer to interpret the image in the way I wish it to be viewed. Is this desirable?

    Is ambuigity bad? Take a look at Marcel Proust's writings. See the power of ambiguity.

  16. #16

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaren View Post
    imho, i think every photo would benefit with the help of words either by way of an explanation of the context the photo was taken by the photographer, or by a well executed photo critique, in order for it to be fully understood and appreciated by the layperson viewing the photo. it does not diminish the merit of the photo. the same principle applies to any work of art, music or literature.
    See my reply to eikin.

    Do we need to have it to be "fully understood"?

    Yes, for many art like those of the Renaissance paintings, without an understanding of Biblical events, the images will be mere beautiful images.

    But there are other kinds of art that might be destroyed by "explanations".

  17. #17
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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by student View Post
    Seems to me that you are implying that "this fixed mentality" is undesirable? Or is the "fixed mentality" that an image should have an explanation that is undesirable?

    Or can both co-exist?

    A lot depends on the intent of the photographer.

    When I do not explain the context, I leave everything open to interpretation. This can be interesting. Let me paraphrase Lichtenberg again "A photo is like a mirror. When an ass looks in, he cannot expect an apostle to look out".

    When I explain the context, then in fact I am forcing the viewer to interpret the image in the way I wish it to be viewed. Is this desirable?

    Is ambuigity bad? Take a look at Marcel Proust's writings. See the power of ambiguity.
    since when did i doubt the power of ambiguity? i'm against the view that a picture that needs words to explain must be a bad picture.

    now, this does not mean that every single work must have explanation in words attached.
    Last edited by eikin; 19th February 2007 at 09:23 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    A picture is a picture. Those comments are just individual interpretations. That's it.

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    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by leejay View Post
    A picture is a picture. Those comments are just individual interpretations. That's it.
    eh, can read properly or not? wah piang ... all come in and distort the question liao

  20. #20

    Default Re: a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin View Post
    eh, can read properly or not? wah piang ... all come in and distort the question liao
    Your question: does a photograph need the help of words to be fully expressed?
    My answer: A picture is a picture. Those comments are just individual interpretations. If a photographer give descriptions of his photos while posting, he wants others to get a rough idea of his photos' background or rather his interpretation. If a viewer expresses his views for a certain photo, that is his own interpretation. Do you get what I imply? "Interpretations."

    Sorry lor. Okay? Happy New Year. But I think I have read properly and understood your question. I know you don't like me because of the DCA incident. But I don't think I hate you. I love your Japanese pics in fact.

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