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How much is a picture really worth?

Children_at_playby Yvonne DiVita
What does this picture tell you? We see a small group of children playing a game, perhaps it's ring-around-the-rosie, a children's game made popular during the black plague, so some say. Or, perhaps they're just regular, 21st century kids having a good time in the park, while their Moms (obviously off camera) are chatting about the Emmys.

We don't really know, do we? We could create 1000 words to explain the picture, but without context from the actual photographer, our 1000 words could be totally off base.

The web is a visual medium. That's why I'm writing this post today. When we're on the web we expect pictures. We like colors and the appearance of texture. We gravitate to sites that show us, as well as tell us. But, without context, a picture is deceiving. 

I'm a wordsmith. I like writing. I like creating sentences and paragraphs that bring pictures alive, even when there are no pictures to look at. In the world of fiction writing, graduating to a novel that doesn't have pictures is a right of passage. Mind you, this does not discredit children's authors who include pictures or who create picture books. I'm talking about adult novels (NOT that kind of 'adult' novel! get back on track!), with page after page of exciting description and narrative.

Novels don't contain pictures, for the most part. They don't need pictures. The writing stands in for pictures. Sometimes, the author is so expert at creating pictures in the reader's mind, the reader is disappointed with the movie version of the book. Apart from the fact that a movie of only 2.5 hours cannot include all the details of a 500 page novel, setting viewers up for disappointment at the start, the idea each reader has of the characters and setting for whatever novel she's read, rarely matches the director's view of the novel in question.

Don't get me wrong. I like pictures. I appreciate good art. I just think pictures that come with words are better, sometimes, than pictures trying to stand on their own.

So, what story does the picture below tell you? Do share!




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