Sunday, December 18, 2011

Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?

I have heard this said on numerous occasions and believe the concept to be sound. While the saying is somewhat true, I disagree on a few points and I will tell you why as we move along here. When you gaze at a piece of art, it is meant to engage you emotionally. It brings up or plays on many feelings and emotions without uttering a word. If you look at classic art or abstract art, you cannot help but be moved. I am told that if you gaze upon Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgment’ in person, that it is breathtaking. This I cannot refute.

When you look at a picture in a book depicting a scene within or even a movie based on a book, the setting is there as a backdrop and many details can be overlooked by an audience as the action and the acting takes center stage. This fact robs the viewer somewhat of important details that you could not ignore if you were reading a book. Most series or movies are trying to fit many words into an hour and half film as well, which is difficult at best. Even with a limitless budget, it is impossible to cram that much detail into movie. A series is a bit easier, but still, details are left out. It is unavoidable.

Like any artist, the writer sets the scene and describes the landscape and what someone is feeling within an environment. The detail of this can be simple or even downright unbelievably thorough. That can be easily lost in a picture. Inner-monologue that reflects the degree of emotion within is lost, and sadly so. That descriptive inner monologue can be the greatest part about a story or novel and is the driving force behind the entire journey. Getting to experience what your hero or heroine sees through his or her eyes is literally unique to the written word. A narrative or description of an environment directly told from a character’s point of view can be some of the most compelling drama ever experienced. Words can stir up more sensation and deliver a sense of impending doom, fear or elation more so than any director or actor could hope to convey in any movie.

That being said, I implore any of my readers to share passages or quotes from any book that may have affected them emotionally in some way. What passages have affected you deeply or made you walk away feeling uniquely satisfied?

 See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

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  1. As a child I bucked the trend and didn't like heavily illustrated books. They often spoiled things for me as I preferred to imagine what the characters looked like and where they lived for myself. I'm convinced there's a tendency to overdo pictures in books for kids to a huge extent. Once kids can read for themselves, we should minimise illustrations so they have the fun of drawing the magic out of the words for themselves.
    However, that said, a few illustrations are nice in any book, including adult fiction. They break up the text, give the reader temporary respite from words and help impart in another medium the author's vision of the world he or she has created

  2. I tend to agree with you on letting your imagination run wild with things, especially imagining your characters as you want them to be seen. Some of us enjoy a little taste, however, of an artists interpretation of what characters or landscape might look like, just to spark further imagination.

    It is next to impossible, too, to think of Gandalf and not think of Ian McKellen, so I think you could argue for an against this point depending upon the extent of your own imagination. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie!