Staublog 01/30/04 Look Closer: Images Matter

Last night I was talking with Dr. Colin Greene (Dean of The School of Theology at SPU) about a creative project the British Bible Society did with Vogue magazine. It was a very cool photo shoot of full page ads featuring a young woman returning home “the prodigal daughter.” The emphasis was on images not words. That’s an idea the Orthodox and Roman Catholics understand. Images matter.

Kathy Hasler explains how she got Vogue to take on such a project. When Michael Jackson danced on an SUV at his trial, the image sent a message. The clothes Martha Stewart, Jackson and Kobe wore “communicated!” When slave Harriet Powers was silenced she quilted (Foto above) using images to get her message across. When a dad saw a T-Shirt “Boys are Stupid. Throw Rocks at Them” he didn’t think what he saw was funny and took action.

When “the Word became flesh” and God sent his son (Hebrews 1), at a certain level it is an acknowledgement of the insufficiency of words. Sometimes images are more effective than words. Sometimes you need both.

The same can hold true for sounds. Marty O’Donnell, a composer once wrote music for TV commercials and gave clients a mug. On it was the phrase “not by words alone.” The irony is that Marty used words to communicate the incompleteness of words.

All this to say Look closer. Remember the brilliant “Sixth Sense” in which it was what you saw and didn’t see that made the difference. Do you see dead people? Do you see?

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