Why don't we read photographs?


Saïd Nuseibeh reflects on writing and the power of an image @ Talking Writing. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you will rarely find twenty words written about a photograph. There are many reasons for this. Having spent the past 26 years of my life as a professional photographer, a few of them stick out and worry me like splinters.I’ve long taken it for granted that photography is a form of writing, the difference being only a matter of alphabet. To my mind, I am articulating with light rather than with words, but my intention is the same as that of a literary author: I want to communicate observations and ideas about the world around us that merit preservation.

As with literary works, some photographs are epic, some lyrical. Some tell a story, others reveal a state of mind. Some misrepresent, some augment. Some are factual, others suggestive.

So why don’t people discuss photographs as often and as intelligently as they do writing?

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