August 15, 2010
Good afternoon, friends,
A friend came to visit and read my blog about the picture I saw of the hands full of money.
She wondered if it was an advertisement for a nail salon. She "heard" the unverbalized message as saying this: "Ladies, if you want your hands full of money, pay us to make your nails look like this." She titled the picture, "Bait."
One reader titled the picture, "The Harlot," and "heard" the unverbalized message as demonstration of unwise choices of lesser values.
After mulling the image over in my mind, I finally titled it "Illusion." The money was counterfeit, the nails fake, and the perfection of the woman's hands the result of a brush (camel's hair or air); no human hand I've ever seen looks that perfect.
Most of you know the old cliche that says "A picture is worth a thousand words." H-m-m-. Maybe.
Look what's happening here. One stationary image (all right--I'll grant you that it is a picture you have through words, but that doesn't nullify my point). Already we have three different titles carrying three very different ideas, any one of which might well require a thousand words to explain that one picture. In one sense, this stands the old cliche on its head: one picture requires a thousand words for understanding.
I'm proposing a cliche for the ditigal world:
A picture requires a thousand words to explain--no image is unambiguous.
What do you think?
See you next week.