A Photo Is Worth a Thousand Words - A Continual Concept for Public Relations Pros to Remember

Watched a fascinating interview on CNN this weekend with world renowned photographer Platon.  His captivating interview discussed the power of photography and the release of his book, aptly tilted “Power” an “unprecedented collection of portraits featuring over one hundred of today’s most compelling and influential political figures. Compiled over a twelve-month period at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, POWER offers a strikingly intimate look at the presidents, prime ministers, dictators, and revolutionaries who define our contemporary global community.”

He spoke of pictures he took at the United Nations of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chávez, and Muammar Qaddafi – and of the fascinating power of the lens. All, replete with interesting voiceovers describing the shoots and the subjects are available at http://www.newyorker.com/online/multimedia/2009/12/07/091207_audioslideshow_platon#ixzz1X16MgUMj

In a timely parable he told of when he photographed Gadhafi and said “Gadhafi chose, arguably, the worst moment to sit for me….Obama was making his first address to the General Assembly as president of the USA…In the middle of the crowd swirl was Gadhafi. And he was marching in slow motion with this defiant spirit. He was surrounded by female bodyguards dressed head to foot in green military clothing. I mean it was a scene from a James Bond movie. It was his Amazonian Guard. So he walked right up to me and sat for me, as if saying, I will sit for a portrait on American soil right under the nose of the American administration while Obama is actually making a speech. And that’s when I photographed him in his regalia.”

Writing can take so much longer than the possible seconds in which a good photographer can capture a story. Fascinating parables and reminder for those of us who earn a living building brands of the importance of photography for PR Firms, in Public Relations and media campaigns.  Photography can sometimes be overlooked and the lessons of good photography are necessary to remember.

From the colour combination one is wearing during the photograph to the angle of your face you are photographed at – whether sitting on a table (and its connotations) or standing up, pictures can tell many different stories. A good photographer can emphasise a subject or a story as an ego maniac or a humble person and can make tremendous differences for brands – for better or for worse.

Public Relations pros need to always remember the importance of photographs and a good photographer – whether for beauty PR campaigns releasing the right product shot or when working at a crisis PR agency to ensure you are cognisant of the “people power” which Platon speaks of. 

Some great PR friendly quotes from Platon in this interesting interview which I’d strongly recommend for anyone in Public Relations and marketing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI-eYrDWNJw

  • “It’s getting harder and harder to get the truth – Photographs can get underneath the surface”
  • “A good portrait is like a great song”
  • “There are many different ways to interpret the same picture.”
  •  “A picture affects ones impression of a person”

 

And of course a great quote from this photographer who’s accomplished so much that his “favourite picture is the one he’s taking tomorrow.”  Pictures truly are worth a thousand words – and sometimes many more.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest US PR Firms.

 

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