Speaking Without Words


My momma always told me, “Show me. Don’t just tell me.” I did not completely understand what this meant until my early teenage years when someone would tell me they were my friend but then would turn around and talk about me. Likewise, actions in images can portray many different meanings without saying a single word. The question is do images have more to say than written words on a page?

Although people are accustomed to communicating through words, recently images have become a powerful means of conveying ideas and concepts. I like what Kress said when he stated, “The world told is a different world to the world shown.” Perception of what is around you is based on personal experiences. If I were to walk into Walt Disney World next to someone who had never been there before the images that would stand out and our reactions to those images would be very different based on the fact I have been to Walt Disney World numerous times. Furthermore, each of us would have the same perspective of Disney if we read the same brochures about the various parks .The same could be said could be said for a book that has been made into a movie. Two people can read the same book and will understand the story plot equally the same. On the other hand, the same two people could attend a movie together that is based on a book and leave the theater with different perceptions of the characters and plot.

Advertisers use this type of perception to their advantage. A picture of a warm brownie sundae with a scoop of ice cream is harder to resist then hearing the waitress describe it to you. Just as Kress said, “The world narrated is a different would to the world depicted and displayed.” In the same way, politicians use images to represent their ideals to convince the public that they are best for the job.

I find it interesting that images have such a powerful hold on our society. Images are used everywhere and influence our daily decisions.


7 thoughts on “Speaking Without Words

  1. I agree with you. Images are much more powerful than reading words. It’s kind of like that saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ People can see things in numerous ways but reading a single sentence can have very little meaning. Just like when Kress said, “text is empty of meaning.” Kress is saying just the same thing and that images are immediately meaningful. I agree and disagree with you comparison of going to see a movie based on a book. One person has read the book and thinks completely different about the movie than someone who didn’t read the book. That actually happened recently to me. I went and saw Safe Haven with my mom and she thought the movie was really good. I, on the other hand, read the book and didn’t think much of anything towards the movie. Not that it bothered me that the plot was changed in small ways from the book but that I knew what was going to happen. To me, the book had more meaning and the movie was just actually made me see the story. Although I do believe images have more meaning, sometimes a book can touch someone more than a movie.

  2. In my opinion i have always had this thing about me where I’d rather sees a picture of it that just to see it written down. Pictures are so vibrant, filled with meaning and filled with color. I tend to get lost into pictures that have too much going on in them and honestly I love it. My mind can’t handle all of the small lines and fine detail that was put into the picture. And for that reason it just makes me all that more curious about it. While I was growing up my mom would tell me “a Picture is worth a thousand words”. And that was a saying I never really understood till high school. Pictures have ways about them that they can literally jump out at you, grab your attention and all of a sudden you know why that particular picture has grabbed your attention. Pictures just like they always have will continue to always grab your attention over something small. That what pictures so great.

  3. First I have to say that the picture you added was an intuitive addition to your post. I can see how it constructively inspires the reader to look deeper into their own take on the argument. very cool. I can recall a time when I was young, and my mother told me that words have power, and another time when an adult at my elementary school told me to always think before i speak, and I don’t say this in disagreement with your statement, but rather I want to give way to a different side of the argument. Words are very powerful, they can change the way we think, inspire us to act, teach us skills for life, and although pictures are more immediately meaningful words are not empty as long as they are truly heartfelt, and inspire action or create some type of emotional stir within. Was Martin Luther king’s word any less powerful than the cruel pictures and news stories plaguing Alabama during the 60’s? in the words of Einstein,” Imagination is more important than Knowledge” Einstein uses simple words to demonstrate an important implied, heartfelt message to his audience, In conclusion i agree that pictures are an extremely important and ever growing medium for conveying emotions, concepts, and ideals as you described, but I’d have to say that one way of conveying thoughts picture or words might also depend on the culture, education, and preference of an individual.

  4. I like how you defined Kress’s statement of “the world told is a different world to the world shown”. At first I didn’t think much of the quote but “perception of what is around you is based on personal experiences” makes a more sense to me. I like your example of Walt Disney World and your reactions. But on the example on the book and movie I disagree. People who read the book then watch movie often claim book was better than the movie. However if you asked someone who watched the same movie but didn’t read the book they might have a different opinion about the movie. Images truly are everywhere and they always seem to catch our attention. For me it’s always the color or that special word “FREE”. That word just catches your eye where ever and whenever.

  5. I agree with the idea that images can hold more weight then words. Just like your mother told you, my father told me, “actions speak louder than words” (Dad). When it comes to our actions, we try our hardest to make a good impression on new people. We could tell people what we are about, but I think that our stories in our life would be better understood if we could show our audience. Words can be very missleading, but not all the time. Most of the time when talking with others about something,we find ourselves looking into what their really saying anyway. When we look at images, I would like to think that most of us see the picture and understand the base idea within the image. Images are not always so easy though, best example is the super bowl commercials. Some we look at and laugh at, “oh we get it (lol) it’s a chip commercial”, others we can be completely taken by suprise from too much put into one image. Like stories with words, you have to calm down and only try to express our ideas one at a time, or learn a better way of show and telling multiple things from images.

  6. I agree with you that the world is much better communicated through images. I found your example from real life to be very profound. It is true that so many people say one thing, but act the opposite. It is probably a trait that makes us human, in a sense that we are all victims and perpetrators in this case.
    I also enjoyed your post, because it is well structured and constructed. Your examples are well placed and are right to the point.
    Also the photo you chose is mind blowing. In my opinion, it says that sometimes images benefit from text, because text can define what an image really is.

  7. HI, I really liked your post! I liked how you used the idea of actions speak louder than words to convey your point. Also, I fully agree that an individuals experiences accurately reflect their perception of the world around them. The world is a plethora of information and the human mind must be extremely selective as to what it takes in. Judging by what an individual might already know the mind stock piles information, taking in things that it might recognize or already understand and ignoring that which it has never encountered before. I also like how you continued to connect this perception of things to a real world example of the picture of the brownie Sundae with ice cream verses someone telling you about it. Personally, I think the only time I get desert at a restaurant is if I see something on the menu that looks absolutely irresistible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s