A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I recently came across a Huffington Post article titled:

10 Shocking Photos That Will Change How You See Consumption And Waste

I am personally interested and academically invested in environmental issues, so naturally, I clicked on the link. What I find so fascinating, however, is how powerful photography really is.

As we return to audio and visual mediums as our primary means of communication, a destiny I believe is inevitable, photojournalism will continue to captivate audiences at an alarming rate. So what will separate one photo from another? Which will make a photo go viral? Who will take these photos? As a firm believer in the future of citizen journalism, I believe the last answer to this question is simple: anyone can supplement and provide news through photojournalism. Anyone in the world will have the power to go viral. Some believe that new technologies will make this possible. Apple’s new products and lenses for iPhones to allow your camera to be as good as the pros is just one example of these technologies. What about apps that will tell you where to stand to take the best photo? Which setting to use? How to apply the best filter?

The number of photographs per event will increase rapidly, so which of these will tell the best story? A good way to decipher this is to look at what makes the best story now. LinkedIn found that including numbers in your headline are more likely to go viral. But what about that one tell-it-all photo. Something that is more than just another BuzzFeed article but contains real, deep, emotional or artistic meaning will need a way to stand out among the copious amounts of Instagram uploads, Facebook albums, and Twitter pics. Would this picture stand out if it was released into the world today?

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Would this one?

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Despite the increasing influx of professional-like photography, the photos that matter will continue to catch our attention and become ingrained in our minds. What made these photos “viral” so many years ago, was their ability to tell a story about a moment in time. Photography is more than just a pretty picture, it is the ability to foster emotions in people and tell a story, a thousand word story, about an event. As catastrophes, ceremonies, wars, human feats, and other life-changing events continue to occur, a photo will arise to become the face of the event. To cement itself in our textbooks (or the computer-version) as a single representation of a historic moment. Photojournalism is not something that will not fade with time, but rather will become a stronger force in how we communicate.

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