Is photography an art? It is one of the most controversial questions today. Is it the way to store all the most important, heart-piercing, and remarkable memories of our lives? Yes. Is it the way to pass along the message of affright realities of modern life? And again yes. Without photos from so-called flash-points in Iraq, Afghanistan, or from Japan just after the earthquake in 2011, there would not be an adequate picture of these disastrous facts. But do photos tell us the true? As Jed Perl said, "Photographic truth is a particular kind of truth" (2011).
Modern photo is just the best shot chosen from a set of identical ones, but seeming the most "live". We live in the era of digital cameras, and we are able to draw another picture above the taken one by a single mouse click. Such photos lose their speech. Our moms and grandmas used to take a photo album off the shelf, sit on the couch, and surf through memories. Every family had own albums, unique and impregnated with its own energy. Each photo had its own history. These photos showed things as they are. We cannot hold photo in our hands any more, they are totally in hands of the digital technology (Svokos).
Today, there are hundreds and even thousands of photos stored on our personal computers, and only few of them can tell us their "pre-photo story", the very few of them worth a thousand words. The opportunity to choose from pictures you just taken has made it almost unreal to have a bad photo of somebody today (Atwan 141). It is just a mockery of those unrepeatable photos that made photographers of the previous century.
And another question is about the photographers. Do they have any right to subject to the public gaze lives of people they took a photo of? What is meant is those terrible shots of killed children on the battle field or imprisoned people emaciating in dirty cells. Sure, the single picture is worth a thousand words about the place it is taken in. But these tell us about single facts happened, not showing the whole picture of an accident. Photos give us an ability to observe events all over the world and in our lives as well, but they do not show real life. When we say that the camera shows truth – we are wrong! Camera always lies (Haggart).
Photos, as a separate unit, do no tell us very much. Some details, which you see, do not make the truth more clear. Jed Perl (2011) is quite right saying "What you see is what you get". Photographer, as an artist, can paint his own truth, showing exactly those facts he wants us to see. Ed Freeman became a photographer exactly because of the wish not to show the bare facts, but his own attitude (Atwan 127). The point is that photographers often impose on us their vision of situation instead of just telling on the matter, informing society about today’s reality.
With all disadvantages of photos, they help us to return back in the past, in already happened events. We can see what is happening in thousands kilometers from us. The photographers remind us about the speed of the turning present into past (Perl). Of course we see the past events through the light of photographers view, but what really makes photo "worth a thousand words" is that it gives us an opportunity to come back to the past and, what is more important, to share our memories with near and dear.