Do you know this face…? [SORRY IT DOESN’T SHOW UP] This is what the court painter tells us is Marie Antoinette. However, to the crowds of hungry angry Parisians in 1787, this was the face of aristocracy and evil. It helped trigger one of the world’s most enduring changes: The French Revolution.
Take any face in any nation in any age and you get my point. Be it Washington at Valley Forge, Lincoln at Gettysburg, Mohamed Ali in the ring, Kennedy in Dallas, Neil Armstrong on the moon, or Sarah Palin on Fox, our brain immediately kicks into pre-set gear. It says to us, and to tens of millions seeing it, this is who this person is. Emotions: you now have permission to take it from there…!
And they do. We all do with whatever image of whatever person is the subject of our immediate attention. Whether the image is valid or not…in proper historical context or not….in tune with the person’s deepest being or not. You see here’s a funny fact about you and me….
….despite living in a world of MOVING pictures [from film to television to minicam] the most powerful pictures are those that are STILL. Those iconic photographs or illustrations by iconic painters and photographers who have frozen in place forever who and what this person has been.
What a powerful tool for communication. Or disinformation. Or education. Or maybe revolution. So next time you see one, please take a second look before you’re so sure…
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