The importance of pictures: a shift in content.

Image  Image

(Left) Front page of The Times, 14th December 1788, (Right) September 11th 2001

Although it’s obvious that in 1788, there would have been no pictures on the fronts of newspapers, what I think is significant here is how on 9/11, The Guardian chose to completely abandon text, as it was the picture alone that would give the viewers the biggest impact. Firstly, because seeing  a single picture on the front of a newspaper with no text is actually quite an odd experience as we become so used to the tradition of front pages. And secondly, because viewing such a graphic image on such a large scale, was the only way the media could induce the shock factor once again on an audience that had already seen countless images of the event on the day it had happened – all on TV.

Images have become a greater means of communication than words. As John Berger states in Ways of Seeing, ‘No other kind of relic or text from the past can offer such a direct testimony about the world which surround other people at other times. In this respect images are more precise and richer than literature.’

Therefore, when we think of the story of 9/11, it is very much a visual experience and why deep consideration should be taken in the creation of any editorial.

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