A picture paints a 1,000 words ..

Homeless man

How many times have we used the expression that “a picture paints a 1,000 words?

Arthur Brisbane - New York Editor and JournalistArthur Brisbane a high profile journalist and editor in New York is first credited with an expression close to this “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”

This very clever quote appeared in a 1911 newspaper article discussing journalism and publicity.

In our very busy, frantic, no time to stop, no time to read or study anything properly world with multiple media coming at us non-stop does this expression this hold up?

The idea that a picture is a powerful way to convey a message certainly holds up. The idea of using a multiple of 1,000 words is interesting – already I have used 116 words in this piece.

When I read that Arthur Brisbane penned this quotation I wanted to know what he looked like for some reason. He looks like James Stewart in the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ era. He looks like a wise man!

As an editor and a journalist Arthur probably had a very strong instinct about how many words it took to deliver a message and what job an equivalent image would do.

If you consider the likelihood of something grabbing our attention today and you think about the job an image can do and the equivalent article (or articles) to do the same job it makes you think about that multiple.

Is it more than 1,000? Is it 10,000? Is it 100,000.

Of course it all depends on the image and how well this is constructed to deliver the necessary message.

At Fuzion when we issue a press release to the media we will often insist that a strong photo accompanies the release – sometimes the picture will be the thing that will get the big space in the newspaper and sometimes we will get both the picture and the article.

For the reader if the image is strong enough it will convey the message or story that we wanted and it may be the hook that will make the reader stop and actually read the ‘words’.

Does a picture paint 1,000 words?

We guess it does and much more besides ..

The story of the photo (top of the blog post)

A family of a missing man spotted him in a photo taken of homeless men that appeared in a Sunday newspaper. Nicholas Simmons, 20, was in upstate New York on New Year’s Day, but he vanished leaving all his belongings behind, according to Fox News on Jan. 6.

Someone in his family spotted Nick in a picture that showed a group of homeless men. The men hovered around a steam grate trying to get warm on the streets of Washington D.C. recently. The homeless men looked destitute, including Nick, trying to get warm in the frigid temperatures. Nick’s parents called the police, who were able to locate their son.

The photographer who took the picture conveyed more than 1,000 words ..

For your website, brochures, posters, press releases get great photos that tell your story.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

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