If I’m a storyteller it’s because I listen. For me, a storyteller is like aJohn Berger
passeurwho gets contraband across a frontier.
The challenge isn’t knowing what to see. The challenge is learning how to see. As soon as you learn what to look for, your originality dwindles. Your interpretation becomes someone else’s.
To see well, in pictures and words, you have to know how to notice the good from the bad. Pictures speak in words. If what you see in your Instagram is uninteresting or cliche, then it may be worth skipping or unfollowing the user. If what you’re reading on your Twitter or RSS feeds is banter or click bait, keep scrolling, filter that keyword, or unfollow (friends and family aside) that individual if their predictability continues.
On the other hand, if the images or words make you think or feel like you’re learning something, keep tabs on that feed. A talented Instagram or a Twitter user can be equivalent to visiting a museum, reading an excellent book, or listening to an interesting lecture where there’s more signal than noise.
Of course, no one’s interesting all the time. There’s nothing wrong with using social media to have fun. But as an overall principle, if you point your antenna to the right people, you can consume the most intriguing stories and ignore the rest.
Bonus: Watch John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and you’ll never look at a picture the same way again.
“What has prompted me to write over the years is the hunch that something needs to be told and that, if I don’t try to tell it, it risks not being told. I picture myself not so much a consequential, professional writer, as a stop-gap man.”
— John Berger, Confabulations
That’s how subtleties move along, transparent, through the chaos of abundant information for which the likes of Facebook and Twitter sell our eyeballs to the attention merchants.
As John Berger wrote in Ways of Seeing, “seeing comes before words.” Images overpower our digital world. Video maximizes these stitched images. People lose interest in thinking by themselves and using their imagination.
Said color photography pioneer William Eggleston: “Words and pictures don’t — they’re like two different animals. They don’t particularly like each other.”
Showing speaks louder than telling. One can intuit a concept quicker with a visual cue more so than a verbalized one.
“You can plan events, but if they go according to your plan they are not events.”
“Soon after we can see, we are aware that we can also be seen. The eye of the other combines with our own eye to make it fully credible that we are part of the visible world.”
— John Berger, Ways of Seeing