A PICTURE IS WORTH HOW MANY WORDS?

Margie Hurwich

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet, given that the average number of words in a typical novel is well over 64,000, I need to ensure that my picture is worth at least that many when I take a photograph.

To do so, it is imperative that I infuse a concept, feeling or story into each photograph that I shoot. I have to continually ask myself, “Do I want to leave the viewer feeling sad, happy, breathless or scared? Do I want the viewer to feel a sense of loss, confused, longing or even with hope for the future?” The answers to those questions are what drive me in my work each day. I strive to present images that one doesn’t just ‘see’, but rather ‘feels’.

So how do I go about doing this? For me, the ideals that I work towards are created mainly by light or the absence of light. Shadows and darker tones will give a sense that something is not right and leave the viewer a bit unnerved, whereas a ‘feel good’ photo with brighter tones leaves the viewer feeling calm and happy. Light, and dark, allow me to direct the feel and mood of an image. Add the two together and you then get a wonderful contrast, which can lead the viewer into either direction.

Finally, add in a powerful subject and you have a great story telling image worthy of a novel, no matter how many words the author has written.

What story are you going to tell?

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