Photos evoke more emotion than any video could

A proverb that has accompanied us for decades but still has a lot of value is: “A picture often says more than a thousand words.”

It’s truly amazing considering how long still images have been around, but they’ve stood the test of time to still capture a whole spectrum of emotions when captured with the simple click of a camera shutter. It’s shocking that despite all the technology at our disposal for video, it’s still sometimes difficult to achieve those raw emotions that can emanate from a single still image.

What makes the difference is that the still image captures what was captured at that precise moment for people to visually review for a lifetime. What it shows can evoke a range of emotions from happiness, pride, fear, hate, sadness to despair.

Capturing these emotions is truly an artistic work, just like a painting or a drawing. A good photo can evoke the same emotions as a painting or drawing.

A video, on the other hand, keeps the action moving in a broader brushstroke perspective, and you can lose a lot of those details that make a photo special. Another important aspect is when you can sort of study “the whole picture” rather than just the person or object in the photo, it helps tell and frame the story behind it.

The concept of the images really struck me recently following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Although there have been countless videos covering many parts of her life, the emotions captured in still images really told the story of who she was as a person.

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Still images likely began to tell their story in a way that took people back during the Civil War, when noted photographer Mathew Brady captured his poignant images of the conflict. Brady had a unique ability to bring combat, horror, determination and tenacity to his photos.

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