Tonawanda News


April 30, 2014

DUVALL: You take the picture, I'll take the words

Tonawanda News — They say a picture is worth a thousand words. As usual, “they” are idiots.

If a picture was really worth a thousand words then rather than a 700-word column and half-column head shot this page would be taken up with a four-column picture of my face frozen in some emotive expression, accompanied only by my byline — and I’d still owe the picture a couple hundred words in change.

And you would have no idea what I’m talking about, just some vague sense of whether it was happy or sad or angry. And there would be a disturbingly large picture of my head. I’m pleased to say pictures are in fact not worth a thousand words, if for this reason alone.

Truth be told, I have no idea what the picture-to-words exchange rate is these days. There seems to be a glut of photos floating around, of landscapes, buildings, people smiling with their arms around each other at a bar. They call it Facebook, after all, not Wordbook. 

I suppose the latter would be redundant.

But if we’re applying economic principles to the words-versus-pictures equation, as the cliche encourages, we’re way over on the picture supply — and demand for meaningful words is soaring. 

The truth is, at least as far as newspapers are concerned, words and pictures are of equal, though different importance. Some stories require strong photography to make the words relevant. Some stories require no photos at all. Some scenes — the pretty summertime sunset, the kids sledding in Niawanda Park — require no words at all. We print people’s names in the captions mostly in the hope they’ll buy the paper and so you can answer that internal question “I wonder if that’s Jim’s kid, he looks just like him.” But really, these kinds of photos are a snapshot — that’s a photography pun — of life here on a given day.

Text Only
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo