Monday, 17 August 2009

The stories that pictures do not tell

A few days ago, Soundscapes, the Online Journal on Media Culture from Groningen, The Netherlands, published my piece on "The stories that pictures do not tell" in which I argued that:

There is no such thing as a right or a wrong reading of a photograph, there is however a more or less informed, and a more or less biased one. A photograph cannot show what was going on at the moment it was taken, it can only depict what the camera was then able to capture and record — everthing else is simply not there, it is brought to, and read into, the picture.

And, ... contrary to widely held convictions, the photograph cannot tell the story of what happened. It is the words that accompany the photo that tell the story, or the stories (usually there are more than one) — and occasionally the wrong ones for what we are reading into pictures often can't be found there, it exists only in our imaginative minds.

For the full text, go here

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