Does a picture really say a thousand words?

Opinion Sunday 12/May/2024 18:15 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Does a picture really say a thousand words?

I was walking around and look at advertisements in the streets and wondered if they really work to attract customers to buy the products.

I was not sure about that and I am still not sure now if they work. These advertisements are far reaching and one of the reach is the content of our wallets. But if posters on the walls have a commercial meaning then what about real life pictures that we normally fail to notice?

When I was walking out of my car, a real life photo presented itself on my path towards the entrance of a shopping mall. A girl, not more than four-year old, was running away from her mother and lunged herself into the arms of an elderly man. There was a squeal of delight from her as she hugged the man who later I learned was her grandfather.

I was tempted to reach out for my mobile phone and take a photo but I respected their privacy. But the ‘virtual photo’ has remained in my mind as I write these lines. Was that a picture that said a thousand words? It certainly was for me. Good pictures just land on your lap when you least expect them. They usually ‘reside’ deep in our minds and remain there for quite a long time.

The sad thing is that they cannot be hanged on the wall or propped up on our living room side table. However, they stir up emotions when they ‘crop’ up. I find the streets an ideal place for ‘outstanding pictures.’ They happen all the time but most of us look the other way when they come up. How many of us have noticed when a bird lands right on top of a stray dog on the side of a busy street? That kind of ‘picture’ lasts only a few seconds and then vanishes forever.  

But what really are the reasons behind them? I cannot really figure out but I think emotions or some degree of mischiefs inspire them. But that is not the point. The subjects do not pause for the photo. It happened instantaneously and that make them memorable. They linger on in our minds longer than when we pick up the camera to capture them in our mobile phones.

But would exactly be an award winning ‘memory’ photo? I guess the one that stirs up deep emotions within yourself. Great photographers would tell you that their most prized pictures are planned carefully in every detail. They are ‘manufactured’ all the way from the scenario to production. But the pictures in our minds just land in front of us unexpectedly. It is about every day moments but sadly, we miss them all the time because of our very busy schedules. It is either that or we are not looking at the right direction.

But if we are determined, can we really find one? I am not sure but I guess it is all about our mental status. Stress cloud up our visions and our eyes do not ‘see’ much when we walk out of our houses. The best way to catch a picture worth a thousand words is to be observant when we venture out. This is the only way it happens.