A picture is worth a thousand words. Interestingly it’s not the equivalence of a specific phrase or list of words.
Take for instance Thomas Hoepker’s controversial picture that he took on 9/11. In the photograph a group of New Yorkers sit chatting in the sun in a park in Brooklyn. Behind them, across brilliant blue water, in an azure sky, a terrible cloud of smoke and dust rises above Manhattan from the place where the two towers were struck by hijacked airliners.
Is it a picture of the modern world (purposeful avoiding using America), in which we have absolutely no care with what is happening outside our personal space.
Is it an image of humans winning one over terrorism, refusing to allow a couple of mad men from ruining their day.
Like any good work of art it is up to the observer to take whatever they want or perceive from it.
Where I would like to draw the line though is the amount of criticism that has been directed towards the subjects of the picture. In my opinion Thomas Hoepker did a good job of capturing a good photographic second.
We’ll never know what happened just before and after the picture was taken. Was the girl depicted lounging in the sun, screaming in shock before settling into that position for a brief moment?
To me it remains a good work of art, albeit one that raises loads of questions about humanity in the 21st century.