You can say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, but I disagree. I survived college, I beg to differ on that. It’s more like 5 to 8 pages, double spaced, 10 or 11 point font, MLA format, full length (meaning no partial page ending), and due next class.
I’ve said before that pictures are the only windows to the past that we have. They capture that explicit moment from the eye of a photographer. We can see what they saw years, decades, or even centuries later. Pictures are a moment in history. The can hold the life of a person. Their death. Their joy. Their sorrow.
But pictures have no value at the same time. They are tin or cardboard or paper or digital. There is no real transferable monetary value to a picture.It’s not a service or something you can eat or wear. You can certainly live without them. We don’t choose to though. It’s why we take more pictures in a single day than had been taken in the first 100 years of photography. It’s why we have Picasa, Instagram, Flickr, and computers come with a “My Pictures” folder ready to go for you.
They decorate the walls of our homes. Sit in albums on shelves. We buy frames to show them off. We cherish pictures of family and friends because they are irreplaceable. They hold a special place in our heart, our home, our lives. Families are willing to fight over them, to horde or even to burn them just so no one else has them. Civil words escape me at the utter contempt and selfish nature people have that do this. Destroying pictures just so no one else can have them I believe has its own special spot in Hell.
But what are the real value of pictures?
They give us something to look at. Of people we never met—our parents, siblings, cousins, ancestors. Places we’ve never been. Or could go. Or are no more. They shape society, swing a jury in your favor or convict you. Whole industries have been built on what a picture is. We can assign monetary values to those services or software.
How much is a picture of your 5th great grandparents worth? How about your parent that passed away? A child you had that is now gone? You can’t really assign a monetary value to that.
A picture isn’t worth 1,000 words. They’re so much more to all of us. They’re priceless.