Photos, Photography, And Images An Image Is Worth A Million Words

1270 words - 5 pages

An Image is Worth a Million Words


A picture represents a moment in history that cannot be authentically recreated. To catch an action, an image, or an emotion by film is truly a special gift and one which most people take for granted. For an image to capture a moment that simultaneously speaks for one person, a nation, and a cause is really “worth a thousand words” as Neil Postman puts it (515), even a million. It is irreplaceable by anything other than understanding, appreciation, and wonder. Three memorable photographs that embody these assets are those of five members of the British Royal Family walking behind Princess Diana’s coffin, Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, and American soldiers raising the flag atop a mountain in Iwo Jima, Japan. These unforgettable pictures clearly show us that when photographs express something so memorable they could never be erased from our minds.

The first picture, one of the most notable moments captured by film in the latter half of the twentieth century, is that of Prince Charles, the Earl Spencer, Prince Philip, Prince William, and Prince Harry walking behind Princess Diana’s coffin during her burial ceremony. The world mourned with them as they respectfully bowed their heads, slowly walking with eyes glazed over on that poignant day. For instance, the facial expression of Prince Charles, Princess Diana’s ex- husband, was one of detached sorrow. Anyone watching his face could see that he was no longer deeply attached to Princess Diana, as he had been while they were married. Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, was clearly saddened by Diana’s death but, just like Prince Charles, did not convey the deep feelings of remorse and pain as Diana’s brother and sons did. The desperate look on the face of the Earl Spencer showed his despair and helplessness caused by losing his sister with whom he was so close. Yet perhaps the most moving expressions were on the faces of Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, whose beloved mother was suddenly taken from them a few short days before. It is clear that the shock seemed almost unbearable to these young boys who were now lost because the center of their world, their mother, was dead. People around the world were able to share the pain and sadness of the members of Princess Diana’s family through their expressions, unequivocally portrayed by that one photograph. Furthermore, in his article “‘By Means of the Visible’: A Picture’s Worth,” Mitchell Stephens explains what makes pictures so powerful in conveying emotion by stating, “[. . . ] words [ . . .] must work hard to tell us what a glance could about the expression on that face” (481). In addition to showing the feelings of the British Royal Family, this photograph is a symbol that shows the world that, while Princess Diana is dead physically, she will forever be alive in the memories of her people. Her impact on society will never be forgotten and...

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