Photographing Words with Meaning

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You have no doubt heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. This theme practices the opposite; a word can be shown in a thousand ways. This topic involves taking a word that can have the potential of invoking strong feelings, thoughts or that brings ideas to ones mind.

Take for example a word such as love, the images that can serve to represent this word are many such as a couple in a loving embrace, kissing, or just looking deeply into each others eyes. And since there are many types of love images of a mother tenderly cuddling her newborn child works just as well.

Words used for this theme do not have to be those that represent feelings, often the best ones are those that represent a reaction such as stress, worry or deep thought; meditation is one such word.

Images that faithfully show the meaning or this word can be those that involve a person looking aimlessly at the nothing or another of a person peacefully sitting below a shaded tree on a calm and peaceful day.

Another word that is very adaptable towards the theme is compassion with hope following very close behind. Images of compassion can be scenes such as a person feeding a hungry dog, cat or any other animal or a scene showing someone giving a helping hand to an elderly individual or even offering something to the homeless or a tender embrace to someone who has suffered a catastrophe.

Whatever word you choose to represent with your photographs one of the keys to make the images stand out is to remove any distracting elements from the scene that do not add to it. Therefore most images should be done in a close up mode with often nothing but the faces of those involved filling the frame and with the use of a wide aperture so that any elements that fall outside or are in the fringes of the main scene being rendered out of focus.

This is not to say that every single image has to be recorded in close up, keep in mind that if there are other elements not directly within the frame of the main subjects but add any interesting elements or bring details to the scene, then they should be included. One of the best tools to obtain these type of shots is a telephoto or zoom lens in the range of 80mm to 200mm. This lens allows one to go in close or increase the distance between the photographer and subjects.

The best images are those that are unplanned by subjects who are seemingly not aware that their photograph is being taken. However a good model knows how to simulate this and is more aware of certain poses and facial expression for each feeling or emotion and can quickly adapt their style to any word and are very keen in analyzing and interpreting what the photographer is trying to do.

Take for example the word genuine, how does one really represent with nothing but posture and facial expression this very important word? One good way is to record an image of a person doing something or giving something to someone else and there is a kind and simple smile on the face of this individual.

However for the expression to be representative of the word, the expression, especially of the eyes is very important and can often not be planned. Good actors and models are very good in doing just this. So using a models is recommended whenever one can and dependent of the words that the photographer has in mind.

Not to say that the entire project is about using models, various other words can be just as well represented by using scenes found readily in nature. The word serenity is easily shown be displaying images of a calm beach scene just after sundown or a peaceful scene of a Sunset, and even an image of a beautiful grassy field.

Try to use people and scenes with very few props and for people go easy on the makeup and clothing. Simple often is best. Depending on the word this is the rule to follow.

Be mindful that if you are going to use words that signify something strong such as fear, hate, anger and so on, then the rules are mostly the same but other things such as props, clothing and makeup will definite change and the use of strong or even dark colors tend to work best, especially the color red.

Like with all of your photographic projects, being creative is a must. Everything has been photographed already. What will set you apart is how creatively your images are done and how this creativity is used to capture and retain an audience's attention.

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 22 comments

Laura Matkin profile image

Laura Matkin 4 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

Beautiful and expressive photography. Great work, thank you for the incite into how to capture a word. And what an amazing word it is represented in each of these pictures.


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 4 years ago from Guildford

Beautiful, so beautiful and simply loved the pictures, especially the first one. The word 'Love' I agree conjures up so many amazing pictures. Great hub.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Laura Matkin: Thank you very much. Glad you enjoyed it


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

acaetnna: Thank you, glad you found it so appealing


pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah

I agree the word springs forth such beautiful images. Voted up, marked beautiful and interesting.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

Good thoughts and beautiful photos. Thanks.


JEOrtega profile image

JEOrtega 4 years ago from Southern California

Hi Luis,

You're right, there are so many words and emotions that can be expressed through photography. Nice hub. Voting up and interesting!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

pmccray: thank you


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Timetravelerr2 & JE Ortega: Thank you both very much


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

What a wonderful play on a famous saying. My favourite picture is the one of hands within hands within hands


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

FloraBreenRobinson; Thank you


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I like the way you converted the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words". It's so true; it can be said both ways. I never really thought about it like this though. Nice job! Thanks for making me think! Voted up.

JSMatthew~


hazelwood4 profile image

hazelwood4 4 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

This a great Hub! An image speaks a thousand words, and words can be expressed with many images! My favorite photo that you shared is the hands within hands photo too. Beautiful image! Thank you for sharing.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

JS Matthew & hazelwood4: thank you both


Michaela Magellan profile image

Michaela Magellan 4 years ago from Where Brown Water Flows

Captivating!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Michaela Magellan; Thank you


Michaela Magellan profile image

Michaela Magellan 4 years ago from Where Brown Water Flows

:)


Gisele Miller profile image

Gisele Miller 4 years ago

Luis,

This is an interesting and thought-provoking article. I know people who prefer the written word to pictures, and I know people who prefer pictures to the written word. Your article challenges us to see the beauty in both. Kudos to you for the impressive article.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Giselle Miller; Thank you very much


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I learned much by reading through your hub. I find it takes some time to look for just the right picture to match up with a word when posting hubs. I also find it interesting how artists come up with titles for their photography or artwork. Often, the title words make you look further into the mind of the artist and see a new perspective. Enjoyed your hub.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

teaches12345: Thank you very much


Saleeln18 profile image

Saleeln18 4 years ago from Illinois

Great Hub man. They say a picture tells a thousand words, but actions paint a picture... and the fact that you take artistic photography so seriously really lets the world know the level of understanding and empathy that you feel to the people and the natural beauty that has been captured in photography. I really liked this one, Keep it up.

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