Still shot from the music video “The River” from Edinburgh based band Miasma.
During the weekend of May 9-11 2014, the British public spent a total of £13,856,641 at the box office, according to the British Film Institute. How much money do you think the same public spent on watching still photographs that same weekend?
The YouTube video “PSY-Gangnam style” has 1,997,326,586 views as of this writing. That’s nearly two billion views! I don’t know how many times the most popular photographs have been looked at, but I’m pretty confident it’s well under two billion times.
It is undeniable that the moving image has a much broader appeal than the still photograph.
In his bestselling book, “Tell to Win”, Peter Guber shows how the hidden power of story can be used to connect with and persuade people. Before the written word, knowledge was transmitted from one generation to the next orally, using the medium of storytelling. We just love stories.
It is definitely possible to tell stories using still photographs, and the best photojournalists do it very well. But it is clear that as a medium, film or video has a definite advantage over still photographs when it comes to telling stories.
The stories that touch us the most are those that remind us of our own past experiences. I think it is because they feel more real. People can get really emotional while watching a movie. How many people cry at a photo exhibit? I believe the emotional appeal of the moving image over the still photograph is that movies feel more real to us. After all, real people move and talk.
From a business standpoint, another major difference between video and still photographs is that the younger generations consume much more of it. If they are your target market, video is of primary importance. I have some personal experience with this. When I was building my photography and video portfolio, I worked quite a bit with local musicians. While they understood that good photography helped their brand, it was more something they felt they had to do. On the video side however, it was something they wanted to do. The picture above is a still from the video “The River” by Edinburgh based band Miasma. The band spent a lot of time thinking about the concept/script for the video, gathering props and making costumes. That level of engagement with a project is something I have never experienced for a photo shoot with people from their generation.