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One picture is worth a thousand words

Maya's picture

When I read Barthes's take on photography it reminded me how powerful (or not so powerful) pictures can be. Pictures are useful when they arrest the imagination and make the viewer question certain aspects of life that had not been discussed. As Barthes says, "Photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks." Small parts of the photo: a dirty hand; a person walking in the background can expand, devlop new meaning, and take over the entire photo's meaning for one person and do nothing for another person. These small pieces of the photo can strike a chord in some people and can change their ideas about major issues. Sometimes a person can only understand the photograph after they walk away from it. If a photo sticks with somebody, even if they do not know why, they could more completely understand the photo after they let it sit with them for a while.