With video, it's pretty easy to evoke emotions. I've seen movies, short clips, music video, animations etc that gets so emotional it would make people cry. Is there something similar with photography? I guess it's exponentially more difficult with such one frame?


Of course they can. They can change the world. Here's one that did both:

not much more to say

  • I can see this making softhearted people emotional, but how did it change the world? Seems there is a story to that. Jun 23 '13 at 6:51
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    It was one of a few key images that turned the majority of the voting public in the U.S. against the war in Vietnam on the late 1960s. This in turn changed the course of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
    – Michael C
    Jun 23 '13 at 11:10
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    This image won't necessarily make everyone cry, but if it doesn't make you emotional in some way (no matter your political views!), I think it's time for some introspection on what exactly "softhearted" means.
    – mattdm
    Jun 23 '13 at 15:43
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    +1 A quick look at the world press photo award archives certainly provides a wealth of imagery, much of which is highly emotional. It is perhaps easier to evoke emotions in moving images than static ones but emotional connections that are easily made are equally easily broken. Jun 23 '13 at 16:37
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    @MichaelNielsen How many news photos do you remember instantly 3+ decades on? If somebody described a 30+ year old photo to people, how many people would know the picture they were referring to after a few sentences? This is one such. Most adults who saw that photo at the time had a fair enough idea of what it was about. A SMALL amount of accompanying text would not have hurt. Or a banner headline. ".... NAPALM ..." probably featured. | FWIW the wider shots that accompanied this sequence - but which I only saw decades later on - made it look and feel quite different. Oct 5 '14 at 3:21

I think the advantage that you're seeing is that video has the opportunity to setup the context for the viewer that will later be used to evoke emotion that photos cannot do. For example, had I seen a single frame from the ending of the movie The Blind Side where he's being drafted I wouldn't care in the slightest, but after having seen the movie I knew the context and had a better idea of what it meant; it was more moving (figuratively) because of the backstory, not because that particular scene was moving (literally) and not frozen. If you know your audience it can be easier (in motion or stills) to evoke emotion from them.

I would imagine there are many crime scene photos that make the surviving families cry, many wedding photos that make widows/widowers, etc. I think that even if the photos were videos instead the impact would be the same because the context is the same.


This one most likely did:

enter image description here

I agree with @tenmiles that it's all about context. What makes people emotional are stories, and it's hard for a single frame to tell enough of a story. But it's possible.

  • I think you've nailed it re: stories.
    – JenSCDC
    Oct 5 '14 at 21:14

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