Is a picture only worth 1,000 words?

TulipLets see if that old adage is true. Is this image, in fact, only worth 1,000 words? Or is it worth much more than that simply because of the memories attached to it? The idea for this post came to me one night while I was sitting in Florida, all alone with my thoughts, while I was doing laundry.

This photograph was taken in the spring of 2010; April 7th, to be exact. It was a beautiful day in Cincinnati Ohio. Amber and I had just arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo where we planned to spend most of the day taking in the sites before the baseball game that evening. My beloved St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Reds that night, so I was already in a great mood. I got to see my favorite baseball team and my favorite baseball player; Scott Rolen. Not to mention the fact that I was going to spend the entire day in the company of my wife!

Amber and I made a deal that whenever we would travel somewhere to watch a baseball game, we’d also visit that city’s zoo if they had one. I loved taking pictures of pretty much anything, so it wasn’t a difficult sale for her to get me to agree to visiting the zoos. We spent several hours there at the Cincinnati Zoo and I took hundreds of pictures; which wasn’t atypical at all. I took several pictures of each of the animals; some of my favorites were of the big cats they have there. Then there were the tulips…

The Cincinnati Zoo has tulips planted EVERYWHERE. From the front entrance all the way throughout the zoo. They have peacocks roaming about freely who like to meander through the tulips as well. I took the opportunity to take several photos of them too. But they aren’t the photos that I’m talking about here. The photograph I’m writing about today is the one at the top of this post.

The tulips were all planted in such a way to group the different colors together in fields or different patterns. This particular field of red tulips was a little different than most. In the midst of all these beautiful red tulips stood a taller, less red tulip. In fact, the tulip was not red at all, but clearly a shade of pink. What was the story behind this tulip? How did this tulip get mixed in with all the red ones? Furthermore, I’m surprised that the groundskeepers hadn’t removed this tulip because of its clear difference from all the other tulips around it. Certainly I had not been the only one to notice this beautiful oversight. I mean, it is pretty noticeable.

All of those thoughts ran through my mind in a matter of mere seconds. The next thought I had was to photograph this field of red tulips with their visitor standing tall amongst them. I’m glad I decided to take this photograph; it is my all-time favorite picture that I’ve taken to this day. And if you know me, you know that I take LOTS of pictures! I have other pictures that I really like, but this one, this one I’m especially fond of for some reason.

All great pictures should have some kind of caption or title, right? For the life of me I could not come up with something that I liked that would do this picture justice. That’s when I turned to Facebook for an answer. I posted the picture on there and asked my friends how they would caption the picture. I had several really good answers posted, but there was one that really stood out to me. It encompassed everything about this picture and it did so in such a way that made it fit – perfectly!

“I am unique therefore I am beautiful.”

Just because the taller pink tulip was “out of place” didn’t make it any less beautiful than all the other tulips that surrounded it. In fact, I think it made this particular tulip that much more attractive. It was different. Standing out in a crowd of likeness. It broke the status quo and it still retained all of it’s beauty. Had this tulip been planted with other tall pink tulips, I imagine it would have just blended in with the others and I quite possibly would have never given it a second thought, much less thought to photograph it.

I like this photograph so much that I had it printed in a 16×24 size on foam board. It’s one of the only pictures I’ve ever printed out that large for my personal collection. Most of my images reside on the computer, never seeing the printing press, and never getting to be enjoyed by anyone else other than me occasionally when I take a trip down memory lane and look through old photographs.

Another great thing about this photograph is that it has not been edited for anything other than size. This is how the shot looked right there in camera. Color and composition remain the same; this is precisely how I saw the tulip standing there. It could probably be edited to make it “pop” more, but to me, that would take away part of the overall appeal.

One of my bucket list items is to take an award winning photograph and have it published. Ever since April 7, 2010, I always envisioned it being this photograph that would cross that off my list for me. I’ve had other people say they enjoy other photos I’ve taken, but like I said earlier, I’m especially fond of this one. I’ll continue to take pictures of other subjects in my quest to get that one that wins an award and becomes published. But this one, this tulip, will always hold a special place in my heart.

So there you have it, folks. One thousand words on this particular picture. One thousand words that explains the journey of how this picture came to exist and why it’s my favorite. One. Thousand. Words. But to me, it’ll always be worth much more than that. Simply because of the memories created that day back in 2010 when this image was captured.


About John Shue

Just a normal guy in pursuit of happiness.
This entry was posted in Current, Reflection and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Is a picture only worth 1,000 words?

  1. Phil says:

    They saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” means that a picture is worth at least a 1000 words, not only.

    • John Shue says:

      Which was the reason for my post. I feel that pictures are worth far more than 1,000 words. The memories associated with pictures alone are worth more than that. 🙂

  2. Jess says:

    Beautiful picture, and beautiful memories that go along. Thanks for sharing. (Was your post really 1000 words, like literally? Just curious).

  3. Keona says:

    Hearing your words on this photo make me truly believe that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” as the caption you picked is quite perfect.

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