Pictures v. Words

Supposedly, a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m not so sure.

Images are powerful. They are moments in time, captured forever, details crystallized. They project mood and tone, they express thoughts, feelings and beliefs. There is something in images that words lack, in that you can see a picture and react to it without words. Images can render words unnecessary.

Words, however, have a power all their own. So easily spoken or written, but for me, words are hard to forget. I may forget the details of your face, I may be unable to keep that mental image intact, but if you say something moving and powerful, I will never forget it. Which is a good and a bad thing, because as a wise friend points out, people underestimate the weight of their words.

Both images and words are subject to interpretation. The fact is that there isn’t anything in this world that we’re subjected to that we perceive objectively. We always add a little bit of our personal perception to what the world offers us. It’s a part of the human condition- to see what you want to see, to hear what you want to hear, to bend and twist sensory input to support our established beliefs and personal truths.

Men tend to find more meaning (and pleasure) in images. Visual creatures, they are. Women, on the other hand, respond more intensely to words. Why this is, I’m not entirely sure. I can take a guess, though, and say that perhaps women are more interested in words because they value that personal slant. When I share a photo, I want to share the photo, I want the other person to experience the image I’ve captured. The experience is incomplete for me, though, without understanding what the image means to the viewer. What do you see? How does it make you feel? What do you think about it? Those are all questions that women ask constantly, but in my experience, men rarely ask these questions. It seems as if they understand that the reaction exists, but they have much less interest in understanding it.

I’ve been told for a long time that women make men more complicated than they are. To some extent, I’m sure that’s true, because frankly, we women make a lot of things more complicated than they really are. We do it because we take into consideration the reaction of involved parties. Men seem to do this less. They are less concerned with how you feel about what is going on than what is actually going on. Such logical creatures, and I love them for it- I can always use some extra logic.

Images serve an important purpose, but I’ll take words over pictures any day. There’s a little piece of you in your words, and it’s harder to grasp, to digest, absorb and hold on to in an image.ย  In the end, your reaction is as important to me as the facts themselves. I guess I’m complicated that way.

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4 Responses

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Give me words or give me death. But, if it’s the latter, make it quick.

    word. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I love this post, it’s written really beautifully and it’s SO true. Although I prefer photos. But I’m a photography person ๐Ÿ™‚

    i’m something of a shutterbug myself, believe it or not.

  3. I’ll take words too. Gorgeous post.

  4. “We women make a lot of things more complicated than they really are…”

    I’m rolling on the floor over here, gasping for breath, not sure whether I’m laughing or crying at how very true that is!

    I love everything you’ve said here – brava!

    thanks, chica! ๐Ÿ™‚

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