Words Versus Pictures

After reading the article: Words Are Human, which relays pretty much everything I feel about the inundated notion “A picture is worth a thousand words”, I felt affirmed in my writers’ bias for words over motion pictures, but then I mulled over the idea for a few days.

My usual case-in-point argument for the sheer, irreplaceable power of words begins and ends with Martin Luther King Jr, but then I thought…

Not about whether words were truly so powerful, but that perhaps a picture could rival prose.


I once saw a picture of an angel getting her wings torn off; and a thousand words could not accurately describe the scene, because one thousand counts of abstracted physicality does not add up to the perfect physical definition of a picture.

One thousand pictures streamed at sixty per second though could not accurately describe in 16.666~ seconds my distraught reactions, because one thousand pictures of abstracted feeling does not add up to the perfect emotional definition of a prose, nor explain my revulsion.

A single picture possessed enough symbolisms to rile my ire in a way that words would not; invoking a web work of emotions that could only materialize words not suitable for any kind of substitution: pictorial, animated, or otherwise.  That one picture (that I don’t care to dig up) required an entire short story to reconcile, but the resulting short story would fail upon 60 frames per second…  I’ve always wanted to accompany Stitched Angel with some pictures, but only to assist those words making a physical account.


So right now, my working theory is that:

Words possess accuracy and truth over the immaterial, but through immaterial symbolism, words embody a great many pictures.

Pictures possess accuracy and truth over the material, but through material symbolism, pictures embody a great many words.

So which is better?

Words!  Duh!

How else would I transmit this idea to you?  🙂

Agree, disagree? Mine is but an opinion, and yours are welcome here too, so post away!

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One thought on “Words Versus Pictures

  1. I’m impressed with your new theory. And I approve…as long as you admit that words rank at least one step higher 🙂

    I agree that sometimes there are things, pictures or otherwise, that we cannot find the words for. But just because WE cannot find them, does not mean they do not exist.

    We must keep searching… and keep trying.

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