Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

by Brian Selznick

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:28 am

Pg. 193:

Isabelle poked her head inside to make sure no one was watching, then held the door open for Hugo. They entered the back of the lobby where photographs from upcoming films were tacked to a display case. Isabelle stopped for a moment and looked at one of the pictures, a black-and-white photograph of an actress with very dark eyes.

"Sometimes I think I like these photos as much as I like the movies," she said. "You can make up your own story when you look at a photo."


Do you ever have that experience with movie posters or perhaps with photos of people you don't know?
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby IngridN » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:24 pm

'When I look at a picture or poster I see it as it is and it stays like that, I'm unable to make up stories. :-/
"We are always the same age inside." Gertrude Stein

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:27 pm

Yes, but I am more likely to do that with people I see in real life. I would absolutely love to know the story behind the proprietress of a mansion I toured recently and the butler who doubles as a magician......or, looking at his website, perhaps he is actually a magician who doubles as a butler.......... I made up a couple of stories, but I bet none of them are as good as the real deal! :hatter:

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby fansmom » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:44 pm

In college I had to learn to administer the Thematic Apperception Test, so I would hesitate to tell anyone the stories I might make up. :innocent: In the TAT, the subject is shown photos and asked to make up a story about what's going on, which is thought to be revealing. It's like the Rorschach inkblot test, but with photos instead of inkblots.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:15 pm

I've heard of that test, fansmom. But I don't know why. I wonder if I've taken it myself or just saw it being administered on TV. CRS

I'm sure I've made up things from pictures. Don't we all do it when some new Johnny pics come out? Aren't we tempted to create a story around them? I guess we know him (sort of). But we don't necessarily know what is going on in the picture. So then we speculate.

I have done it with movie posters and with pictures I've seen on the web--photos of people I'm familiar with (and not) on websites, historical photos, you name it. I think it has become automatic for me. And maybe that is because I am a very visual person.

On the other hand, I don't want to let it go there. In many cases, I must know the story behind the picture. Thus I begin to search out the story in print.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:28 pm

I think I'm glad I never took that test.

I don't do it so much with movie posters or current photos of people I know, but I do like to imagine what someone was thinking or what the story is behind an old family or historical photograph.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby Buster » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Like Liz and DITHOT, I like to imagine what the subjects of a photo might be feeling or thinking, and it often leads me to research the circumstances, or the era, or the photographer.
There's an interesting website that looks at and discusses old photographs :
Interestingly, this week is "train week" - worth a visit.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby gemini » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:08 pm

While I love a beautiful photograph as much as the next person, I must admit I prefer the written word. If given the choice of the same story I nearly always prefer the book to the film. Some things can be described to set a mood and a film sometimes just cant capture it. Now let me back step a little. I love photos, cant live without my camera on a trip. Sometimes something fantastic in a photo would be difficult to describe with words. I love to look at pictures and as some of you said, add my thoughts to the setting. I love movies and would hate to ever give them up but all that said, there are things in my book collection I just couldn’t part with.
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:40 pm

Boy do I love the questions you ask. I stop, start to consider one and all of a sudden I'm lost in a revery of images, of ideas floating through me. Really lovely way to end the day.

Now to photographs and movie posters. Flat old fashioned photos don't do it as much for me, suppose in part it's the formality of the the pose that locks off the personality. Mostly I look at them and wonder whether they were uncomfortable, sweaty or stiff or their shirt too tight, the wool pants itchy. Movie posters, depends on the era. Old stuff from the 1930s and 1940s, oh I can dream myself into them and I'm sure that was the intent. They are so vivid, so ripe with emotions, me at least, I'd touch 'em if I had a chance. They're real. Now I should say that I found those very early French film experiments that you showed us, absolutely alive and those pictures: I could walk into them convinced I could sit down at someone's table or walk along with them. These are the ones I make stories out of.

Finally I echo gemini's comment about preferring books. I see so much more in my mind when I read than I've ever seen in any movie. Books throw you into dreamscapes and the 'seeing' is more instantaneous than looking at an object in real life. It's an all encompassing seeing - you are everywhere at once, as though you know exactly what's above you, behind you, below and around you the very same instant you look directly at an object. I guess the mind fills in gaps in some manner. Then, you go to the movies. Nothing can measure up to that world you create in your head. Nice, nice question folks.
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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby ladylinn » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:40 pm

When looking at photos of people, I too wonder what was going through their minds when the picture was taken. I would like to see some of the out takes that weren't published. :lol:
Movie posters are made to trigger the imagination so the person wants to see the movie. With the internet and movie trailers today - we don't have to use our imaginations as much. Like Isabelle thought - using ones imagination sometimes is better than the real thing.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:49 pm

Buster, very cool link! I'm adding it to my favorites. :cool:

gemini, I agree about books. Some of them are just special friends and nothing will ever replace them. I think that is why I still can't get into ebooks or audio books. I just like seeing that special book up there on my shelf. Having said that, sometimes a movie can take me places that the book didn't, or help me see things I didn't when I read it. However, I vote for books overall.

firefly, I wonder about those old formal photographs too. Everyone looks so stuffy and unhappy. That is what makes me think I would like to know that person's story because I'm sure (at least in most cases :lol: ) the photograph does not actually reveal the person. (I can hear them...get me out of this :censored: dress/collar/uniform!) Why is no one ever smiling, at least in the formal ones. Thank goodness photography had evolved!

ladeylinn, good point about trailers. The movie posters of old had to convey much more and create immediate interest. Today's posters almost seem to be the opposite, creating mystery in anticipation of the trailer.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:50 pm

fireflydances wrote: Books throw you into dreamscapes and the 'seeing' is more instantaneous than looking at an object in real life. It's an all encompassing seeing - you are everywhere at once, as though you know exactly what's above you, behind you, below and around you the very same instant you look directly at an object. I guess the mind fills in gaps in some manner. Then, you go to the movies. Nothing can measure up to that world you create in your head. Nice, nice question folks.

That is a good way of explaining it, fireflydances. I don't know how to articulate the difference between books and movies. But books are generally better. And why is that, when movies provide it all for you--a total experience for the senses? I think that maybe it is because most movies don't have enough time to develop characters or plots.

I've been disappointed over and over agian in the film adaptations of books. I think it is because I want the films to mirror the books. And it's just not possible in most cases....due to lack of time, mostly. But there is also that issue of the scriptwriter or director having their own agenda.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Hugo Cabret Question #11 ~ Does A Picture Create 1000 Words?

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:52 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: ladeylinn, good point about trailers. The movie posters of old had to convey much more and create immediate interest. Today's posters almost seem to be the opposite, creating mystery in anticipation of the trailer.

I agree. The trailers tend to give the best parts away....esp. with the comedies.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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