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The old saying that a photo speaks a thousand words is as true today as it has always been. I have been wondering of late whether it is time to stop hiring consultants and to hire some good old fashioned cartoonists or photographers to get a feel for a nation's health. These days, we get more honesty from a meme than we do from a memo. 

After all, one need only read newspaper articles anywhere in the world and the grammatical errors, poor spelling and factual distortion make me wonder if the writer is on work experience or is a graduate of a university majoring in wokeism and idiocy. 

We are being bombarded with falsehoods and trickery. AI is on the march. Photoshop and Computer Generated Imagery ( CGI ) are making us question what we see. Is it real? Is it an illusion? 

So today I want to talk with you about the power of the lens.  In times of crisis, such as natural disasters, political upheaval, or social movements, photographs become vital records that document reality. Images were taken that captured the reality, not the artificially created illusion that seems to mock us at every turn. 

One of our commenters posted a video the other day of an aeroplane taking off from an aircraft carrier. It was so real. Yet it was a fake. 

How often do we get hoodwinked these days? 

Words? People? Photographs? 

It seems that we have to go to the past to find the reality. The present is so full of " pretend " men, " pretend " women, " Pretend Justice " that it is hard to recognise the truth from the fiction. 

So here we go: into a world where images were real and told stories that were real. Before the world went mad. 

My first warning sign was when I saw this. I could not believe that we had descended into hell so quickly. An image of a real woman grieving her real husband alone because of a fake crisis. 

For me, it was one of the most powerful images of Covid:  The Queen at Prince Philip's funeral. 

It tells a story of grief, isolation and the death of our old way of life. What we, as a people endured, was a global deprivation. Of physical affection, comfort and support. It was and is a tragedy that no matter how important or " ordinary " we were, we all suffered that same horrible pit of despair and separation from our loved ones. 

The emotional power of real photography lies in its ability to evoke empathy and understanding. A single image can convey so much. It forms a connection. A relationship.... between the person in the image and the person looking at it. 

Something I have never forgotten was this one This image of construction workers casually eating lunch while sitting on a steel beam high above New York City captures the daring spirit of the men who built America's skyscrapers during the Great Depression.

Who could forget Dorothea Lange's image  "Migrant Mother," taken in 1936? The image of Florence Owens Thompson, a destitute pea picker in California, surrounded by her children, became a symbol of the Depression’s human toll. The photograph’s raw emotion and stark composition turned it into a powerful symbol of resilience, and it played a crucial role in drawing public attention to the dire conditions faced by many people. How much better value this image was than a thousand consultants writing propaganda.... 

Or the Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima? Taken during World War II, this photograph depicts six U.S. Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. It symbolises courage, unity, and the sacrifices of soldiers, becoming a powerful patriotic image.

Or, one of my favourites. This photo captures a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, New York City, celebrating the victory over Japan. The spontaneous joy and relief captured in this image symbolised the end of World War II. 

Years later, the image of the child in Vietnam. Also known as "Napalm Girl," this photograph shows a young Vietnamese girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, running naked after a napalm attack. The harrowing image brought global attention to the horrors of the Vietnam War and helped shift public opinion against it.

Taken during the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, this photograph shows an unidentified man standing in front of a line of tanks. 

Tank Man – wearing a simple white shirt, dark pants and carrying two shopping bags – initially halted the tanks by displaying the palm of his right hand in what is universally recognized as the signal for “stop.”

The tanks did indeed stop, and Tank Man was seen climbing up the front of the lead tank, and standing on it for several moments, during which time he spoke with a crew member. Though the tanks attempted to maneuver around Tank Man, he repeatedly moved to block their path.

Soon, two men—possibly government officials—forcibly removed Tank Man from his position and carried him off, after which the tanks proceeded on their way.

This photograph shows a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks. It is an image that encapsulates the horror and human cost of that tragic day.

Yet not all images that capture our hearts are of injustice or sadness or cruelty. 

Some are heartwarming and kind. Gentle and full of joy. I love this one of President Trump with the late Queen Elizabeth. It is almost as if she is flirting like a little schoolgirl. There is so much fondness and intimacy captured in this moment. 

What a shame it is that we are subjected to the abuse of wordfests on our senses from governments who pay obscene amounts of money when a simple photograph would tell us more, for less and give us a much better overview of how our countries are faring. 


 I believe that we learn more from snapshots than we do from snapchats. 

Memes and cartoons, photographs and simple messages captured through the lens of human emotion. The power of words is much the same. Millions of words are written. Millions of images captured. But it is the honour of the very few to be held in the hearts and minds of the library of memory. 

For me, I have hundreds, if not thousands of snapshots in my memory. From my earliest childhood to this very morning. Sadly, my memory is my camera and when I pass on, so do my images. 

When my late father was passing, he went back through the vaults of his memory and starting pulling out snapshots from his nearly 90 years. He went back to the time he got caught scrumping ( stealing ) apples as a little boy; he selected a picture from his days in the navy. He told, with great clarity, the story behind the image. As I sat there listening to him describe the image he held in his memory, I smiled. I could not help but think how fortunate he was: to have such great photographs housed in a place where no one could steal them. 

The downside of course is that his photographic memory died with him. 

On the upside? They were great images. Full of laughter, sadness, challenge and reward in equal measure. He lived through the Depression and World War II with pleasant and happy memories. 

What will our children's children record in their memory banks?  They probably won't even know what an apple was, let alone know how to scrump one. 

We are living in a fake world where truth is labeled as misinformation and disinformation. 

Hell, we can't believe our lying eyes. 

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