An image as defined by dictionary.com is a physical likeness or representation, it can also be an idea. As explained in Nora Ephron’s “The Boston Photographs” an image can also depict an event, however an image alone can be meaningless such as in Errol Morris’ “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.” These two essays both discuss the power of a photograph. There is a saying that a photograph can have a thousand words, but what if it has no words, no title, or description. A photograph alone can show emotion or evaluate a situation. However if a photograph is just simply a photograph with no expression, it leads to no explanation as to what has happened. These two essays look at the different aspects of a photograph such as visual and verbal expression. Both of these ways to express can be equally important.
A photograph can capture an action in motion or a still object. Both types of images have an incomparable unique way of expression. Nora Ephron in describes her photos pictured in the text as “death in motion, the split second when death runs out, and it is impossible to look at them without feeling their extraordinary impact.” This is very true with any photograph especially when it is of such a tragic event. Similarly Errol Morris notates how pictures of his family also drew memories, “saddened by the passage of time” (754). Morris also acknowledges the emotion within a photograph from WWI “it was charged with meaning” (757). This particular photo shows “a mother with a 3 month old child clasped tightly in her arms” (757) after the sinking of the Lusitania. Both of these images show a tragic event in action and capture the emotion locked within that single moment. Ephron believed that “people die. Death happens to be one of life’s main events. It is Irresponsible-and more then that, inaccurate- for newspapers to fail to show it” (660). Towards the ending of his essay Morris states that “the photograph does not give him answers” (760), this thought is also true in the photograph by Ephron, they raise questions. Every photograph whether tragic, family, or even a landscape draws questions. Where was it taken? What happened? The differences exist in the context of the picture and the caption if there is one.
Too many unknowns can exist when there is no caption and a picture alone. Morris raises the question in regards to photographs “is it true or false?” (755). When asked this question it may initially cause confusion. You may even think, “true or false in regards to what?” (755). If a picture has no caption you are not able always able to distinguish what is being shown and even with the caption who is to really know what is truth. Morris uses his example of The Lusitania, he describes, “the caption could have been inadvertently been placed” (756) the truth is there is no way to know “the photograph could actually be of the Titanic” (756). Photographs similar to those of Ephron do cause questions but it is more easily determined what is happening, it is “a rescue attempt that failed” (756). Both of these essays describe the value of photographs however Morris describes “a caption less photograph, stripped of its context is virtually meaningless” (755). Ephron’s photographs themselves seem to tell their own story and although without the caption listed the pictures alone tell a tragic tale. I do not believe them to be meaningless though a plain object alike the photograph of “the Lusitania” may not mean much without the caption included. Similarly the photo of pocket watch alone may not tell much, but with the caption it describes “the watch belonged to Percy Rogers and it stopped at exactly 2:30” (759) per the article it was “ticking off the most terrible