“If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you?” says the infamous song of Bread entitled If.
At this day and age where books are adapted to be used as a storyline for motion pictures or movies, there has been a decrease in the book-loving population of the world. Check out the local bookstore and you might see just a handful of people lounging to buy their next read. Meanwhile, check out popcorn lanes in movie houses and it’s just overwhelming. People are now accustomed to being spoon-fed with TV shows and flicks that reading and appreciating other forms of art that originally require imagination has decreased in value and worth. They ask, “why should I spend two weeks worth of reading an inch-thick book when it was already compressed in a three-hour film that is now showing?” And guess what, most of the interesting parts in the book are cut out from the film. Hence, you get a shorter, incomplete version.
And as the saying goes, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, more so, imagination is the revenge of art to intelligent people.
The same goes with pictures. Now let’s make this more human, more personal. Ever posted a photo in Facebook and Instagram? Why the need to make artistic shots of your photo? Why do you care about shadows, lighting, or scaling yourself against the latest cave you just conquered? Those are part of art. We want to express the meaning behind the photo without saying anything. We try to communicate to others by using photos – facial expressions on a portrait, the beautiful orange sunset, the contrast of the colors of your Chuck Taylors against the green grass.
Deciphering a picture is not like decoding the hieroglyphics. At least it shouldn’t be like that. Understanding imagery should come naturally but it should be practiced, too. An interpretation of a picture may not always be constant. It may change from time to time, depending on your mood, or with whom you are, or where you are. Pictures are overflowing with words that need not to be spoken, with details that encompass our personality, train of thought, and standpoint in life.
One picture is all it takes to tell a story. It doesn’t need to be a series of photographs but even if it is, it’s okay. What matters is that you captured the moments that matter most. Take for instance the photographs taken from the Kapatid network rescue and relief operations. The photos taken were able to capture the expressions of the people who were a part of it. The Filipino spirit of bayanihan is indeed praiseworthy.
We don’t have to visit a museum to find wonderful artworks to interpret anymore. Pictures are everywhere and our options are endless. Since most people spend their lives wandering in the town called The Internet doing our favorite sport called surfing, it is all the more reason to exercise this so-called appreciation for art.