Power of Photos and Video in Storytelling


Sometimes, like with the horrible attack in Colorado last week, we find ourselves trying to tell the story of what happened. Trying to explain it and to make sense of it. Sometimes words are just not enough. That’s where video and photography come in.

A picture is worth a thousand words. The grief-stricken face of someone who’s life has been changed forever. Hands joined in compassion and prayer. Words can describe what you see, but it’s the images that tell the story of loss.

Video has the power to go that step further. Cellphone footage of people running for their lives. Groups of people huddled together crying for relief that they’re alive, out of a kind of terror most of us will never understand and for the loss of innocence and lives. The power of seeing and hearing a crowd gathered, candles flickering, as they try to make sense of it all and find hope in the words that are spoken, can be overwhelming.

It’s this power that pictures and video have that have always drawn me towards these mediums. The way a single picture can find a way to say the things that words can’t seem to. The way a piece of video can draw you in and make you feel. And to do it well, to me that’s a super power.

But there does need to be responsibility with this power. Since the shootings we’ve seen people hungry to show more without a thought for the story they’re supposed to be telling, or for the people being touched by their work. Everyone wants that one great shot. But in times like these, especially in situations like this, we must not lose site of the real life pain and suffering of the people whose stories we’re trying to tell. As responsible storytellers we should never increase someone’s suffering to tell our story instead of theirs.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.