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We can develop the world through images.

In his talk, Jonathan Klein spoke about images leading to people to act and react. I think that in rural third world countries images could lead to knowledge and development.

I am a first year economics student in Berlin, and in our marketing class we learned that images are always received and processed faster then text. I lived in Kenya for 11 years and I realized that images could literally make people change; in western countries they show images of starving poverty stricken African children and this leads to people donating... but what about showing images to people in Africa about knowledge, or about how to conserve and be environmentally friendly? Or how to build things, how to survive?

I myself am not a photographer but this idea has struck me and I just can't stop thinking about it. With diseases such as AIDS in rural areas, people still aren't well informed. I think that images could solve that faster than long talks with big words that some people don't even understand. I am not just talking about Africa; I think in general images could change the way people live.

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    Dec 7 2012: Sight (images), sounds, and smell are some of the most powerful tools known to man. We live through association in many aspects. Show a picture of the moon landing and we old people can tell you where we were then. A photo of Kennedy being shot will draw the same recall. The smell of baking bread may take you to grandma's kitchen. A certain after shave may remind you of good ole dad.

    If the images, smells, sounds have a relevance to the locals or who ever the target audience then it will be effective. A photo of a hamburger will not mean much to a village in central Africia but a photo of a stew pot of yams would bring a smile to their face.

    Images must reinforce a life event, a cultural standard, or generate a emotion. If AIDS has not arrived at that village then photo of others may not have the desired results.

    The idea is not new but all ideas can be improved on and modified to the benefit of the user.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Dec 5 2012: I totally agree with you:)

    It is very common that mastering mother tongue at an early age in the country where I live. For example, I do not mean to show off, but I learned to speak and use my mother tongue when I was four years old. People living in this country easily approach to text and study, so most people are literate. However, learning through images are probably much more efficient and productive in the country with, more or less, a lot of illiterate people. (I hope you do not misunderstand my words, because I've never had biased perspective about people who are illiterate.)

    I also agree with the idea, "Images are always received and processed faster than text." Visual impressions through images have a great influence on us, rather than sense of taste, hearing, or touch.

    I am so impressed, in that you have a lot of concern for the society, world, people, and situations around us. Images have been used for centuries, but I agree with your idea that they should be used in places where they could be effective, as you said. I love your adorable and progressive opinions.

    By the way, if you do not mind my asking, is there any specific way in your mind?
    • Dec 6 2012: Thank you.. and i do not misinterpret that at all thats why we have MEDCs and LEDCs there are clear reasons i dislike it when people try to talk so nice about their country when sometimes we just have to face realities and be honest and say the truth i am a biracial my Father is German(MEDC) and my Mum is Kenyan(LEDC) so i can face realities despite me bieng born in berlin i lived in kenya for most of my childhood and teenagehood and i can truly see the realities and differences in literacy rates its not offensive or anything in Kenya they are clearly lower and there are reasons for that and that is what should motivate people to change that and what my initiative is or my opinion is that people can only change and do things on their own....but i believe that we can inspire them to start bringing up their initiative on how they want to live its more about getting the people inspired and hearing their thoughts and exactly what they think once we get that we can look for solutions to make their ideas sustainable realistic, better and finally a reality, because a happy nation is one that will develop a nation built by its own people.

      Well, firstly i am thinking of going to a rural village and most of these villages have a central place were everybody meets up i am not even thinking about going with the craziest of gagdets. i think a projector is enough.. and then just show images like knowledge how there is someone (most probably a stick figure as i do not want to show a racial division i just want to show the basic fundemental importance of knowledge) who has great knowledge could work by showing books and thought bubbles... and then that stick figure helps in his village with sustainable methods of farming and keeps his village hungry free on an unfortunate day someone could have stolen from this character but what i want to show is that the figure continued living and still lived well as knowledge guided him because thats the one thing nobody can steal from you.
    • Dec 6 2012: Nobody can steal your knowledge..i know its a bit rough and needs working on but thats just one thing and thats more for children (it should be more like a comic strip with no text) but i want to show that through knowledge you could help your village also health wise, financially and help the village and country grow making a difference then i would turn off the projector and thats when words can now play a role, and ask them how they interpreted that what their thoughts the education that they are getting enough what would they want to learn etc... i mean llttle children look at lego instructions which have no words and build castles here for adults i would maybe show images of how cutting trees and not regrowing them leads to less rainfall hence no harvest....howto maybe try harvest other things too maybe come up with the idea of how to make boreholes and the Reality of AIDS and unprotected sex... how them producing more children when they themselves have nothing to eat only cripples the world further and further how to spend money how to plan images could litearlly depict all this it will be pretty simple but once that willingness to learn about is created is when we can now move to sharing the knowledge with them to sharing the knowledge that they seek...i am sorry that this explanation is a bit messy but its still all thoughts and i need to sit down and properly think this through and collect my thoughts but thank you for the feedback.
  • Dec 4 2012: Pictures are worth a thousand words, i think its a great idea
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    Lejan .

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    Nov 29 2012: Logos, icons, pictograms and comics have been around for a long time in history. We used them for identification (coat of arms) and story telling (frescos, murals) throughout centuries. Even computer made their final break through to become 'personal' due to the use of images (icons) instead of using ' 100011 00011 01000 00000 00001 000100'. They even used the term 'icons', which was used for picturized religious memorabilia before.

    So this concept is neither new nor surprising as all humans are native 'visual' beings.

    I understood the story line of a comic before I could read and if I was illiterate I would be able to find the restroom at many places.

    Yet as with all other forms of communication images can manipulate and misdirect the recipient, which was and still is used in commercials, propaganda and all media. On a bad headline in a newspaper, let's say about a politician, the given photo of this person is carefully chosen to transport a 'non spoken' message. In our mainstream media it is less likely to find a photograph of Mahmud Ahmadinedschad with an open and all winning smile, because 'we' don't wan't to 'see' him this way and not because there are no such images available of him.

    Nazi Germany used to picture Jewish citizens in the newspaper with 'hooked noses' and 'greedy looks', to devalue their status as human beings and to generalize 'them'.

    To 'develop the world' by images the same carefulness is mandatory as with all other media as well.
    • Nov 30 2012: Yes i am not talking about bringing across propaganda, or showing biased images of other cultures its nothing to do with other people or starting a war its about images inspiring people to finally become independent and to finally React and do something and to bring that spirit to develop i just want to awaken people's senses and i do know that this idea of images has been around for ages its not like i am saying that i invented it.. i am just saying its new because this idea hasn't been used in places were could be effective.. like in rural villages in Kenya. i am just talking about inspiring people and bringing about growth because countries like Africa finally need to change it seems that it is just not moving forward its upon the people to change it i mean how long will Africa be how it is? i know that Africa does not want to be in the state it is in there is too much pain and poverty and people are unhappy i just wish that this idea of image could show people that there is a way out. i am not even talking about showing the wrong images its just about basic images of inspiration and images that ls how people how they can live a better life and how their ideas could contribute to them finally being independent of Aid and all that...its possible but the people need to wake up and do something too much speech has been used so this approach of images could finally lead to people bringing across their thoughts and ideas it lets the nation build a nation that they are happy to be in and it leads to growth... They show starving children to more developed countries and here the idea of images has lead to people spending huge amounts of money on donations but what about finally showing pictures to the other end of how to grow on their own....
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        Nov 30 2012: I did not mean to reduce your idea, Esther and if I did I apologize.

        But the scope of your idea is pretty vulnerable for propaganda, don't you think? Because to me 'Inspiring people and bringing about growth' is actually to build the foundation of a working economy in this region to 'finally become independent'. This is a great idea, no doubt about that, but how do you inspire as unbiased and neutral as possible, so that the people can find their own way in doing so? Especially given the limitation in only 'visual' communication.

        With your experience, what do you imagine those inspiring pictures could look like?

        Would a picture of a 'western middle class family' showing their average wealth be inspirational or rather disastrous? Personally I think it would be disastrous.

        What if this lack of independence is related to other cultures and nations?

        I would like to understand the type of 'signs' you are thinking of, which could make the change you wish for. How would they look like? What messages would they carry?
        • Nov 30 2012: I know that everything can be turned into a hidden agenda and that everything can be bad if it is not monitored properly i mean when people donate it comes from a good place but when it goes to greedy pockets of corrupt politicians that's when donations turn bad.
          i am not talking about showing a picture of a middle class western world what about simple cartoons for children in comic strips that show the fundamental importance of going to school these comics don't even need color they can be stick people, and images of how cutting down trees leads to there being less trees and maybe showing the importance of trees.. showing methods of how to farm better... how to save money how women are important how too many children is not the right idea if you cant feed yourself.....images of starving children because their parents kept on producing in hope that they will benefit from their children but instead their children are dying infants because they were malnutrition... Images of how their vote matters in changing the nation and that a vote should not be based upon someone who just bought them a loaf of bread for a day before the elections and lets them all starve once elected... all this can be interpreted in countries..yes i know that culture plays a role but the thing is if this was culture is it culture to let children starve? is it culture to be unhappy? lack of independence is because people are not doing anything and allowing themselves to be ignored to be treated like they don't matter to be treated like dummies because the government steals right in front of their faces and the government knows that there is no potential because they have the money i am talking about images that finally lets people know that its time to do something to reach happiness... but i appreciate your opinions a lot thank you i am new to all this...i hope that i am containing myself well...
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        Lejan .

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        Nov 30 2012: '... allowing themselves to be ignored to be treated like they don't matter to be treated like dummies because the government steals right in front of their faces ...'

        In short, Esther, you are calling for REVOLUTION here!

        So that the people finally quit to be treated like beasts and to break free from an all corrupt, rotten and financially powerful government!

        Don't get me wrong, if this government is as you say, you have my vote!

        Nevertheless, calling for REVOLUTION is pretty manipulative don't you think and if I had to picture this message it would certainly look somewhat like this:

        Besides this rebellious notion I understand now what you have in mind and it could be seen as a forerunner to a more wide spread and fundamental educational system.

        Wouldn't your visual concept work with the 'One Laptop per Child' initiative?

        As the computer is mostly a 'visual' medium it could also animate those 'stick people' for a better transfer of the actual message. Kenya seems to be already part in this:
        • Nov 30 2012: That's amazing but this sort of a thing needs to be set up in more rural areas because that's where most votes come from.. i mean yes the government is amazingly corrupt in Africa its no lie thats one of the main roots why Africa is still were it is today its like they always blame colonization and slavery but in my opinion what the government is doing now is still a form of colonization and slavery.. it is a form of Revolution i guess but the people should educate themselves before they go out and start tackling the real issues of the country...No violence just educated and real change....thank you for the links and thank you for the extra awareness and knowledge....
  • Nov 28 2012: "Development through images"

    Is the long way of saying "Visualization" and there is an enormous list of Discoveries/Inventions which came into being through Visualization.

    But lest consider the Sufi expression "Visualization is Indeed Heaven"
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    Nov 28 2012: Hi Esther,
    I agree with you about images solving issues faster than long talks. Where my point differs with you is that the passion with which you wield words are as skillful as an artist will and can touch many people to act. For as I read your words I felt compelled to act (or in marketing is referred to as a CTA- call to action). Sometimes with photos there are certain angles, techniques and shadings that influence individual interpretation.

    Whereas, in my humble opinion, nothing can compare to text like yours. It's coming from a pure place, benevolence, grace and empathy. Imagine Esther if you were able to share your words passionately and invite a photographer, painter, sculptor to interpret alongside you. Thus providing a denser meaning to your words. What could that look like? What would that feel like? I guess what I am suggesting is that it not be an either/or instead a coupling of ideas that would touch different aspects of ourselves.

    You touched me Esther with your ability to share so openly. I thank you!
  • Nov 28 2012: Art and images have a universal strength, but I think that each culture have pictures and ideals that hit a different cords. This project would need to be streamlined to different cultures for the same idea, which could be very difficult due to different education levels and cultural values in so many parts of the world as I can tell you are aware. I think this idea has great potential, but the man hours needed for redrafting and logistical issues would be consuming. I hope this idea gathers strength because it could really help save so many people. This properly administrated could efficiently produce millions in donations that would be applied properly, but it could also help give a rudimentary to advanced understanding to a population quicker than past efforts.
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    Nov 28 2012: Hi, Esther. You are right that images are a highly effective means of communication, which is why they are used so much! They have the advantage also of not requiring a person to be able to read the language of the place. It is not accidental that we use traffic lights of different colors rather than changing signs and that many facilities are marked with symbols any of us can recognize, regardless where we see them in the world.
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    Dec 8 2012: Images have a lot greater emotional power than words. It may take pages to describe emotional state and minutes to read it, but it takes a split second to perceive it from an image of a face. During the history, people killed each other by hundreds of thousands. There are written descriptions of unspeakable atrocities dating back millenia. Yet, it's in the XX century when mass murders have largely stopped in civilized world. It may be because of the image technology which showed to the world what holocaust looks like.

    This is a wonderful idea.
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    Dec 7 2012: Amazing ideas.
    The first step, I think we can exchange images between two countries. You will know about my country, I too.
  • Nov 28 2012: Thank you for all the great feedback, and the video by Ernesto Sirolli just inspired me more i mean i think that these images is not saying anything its not patronizing its sparking ideas into people's minds, because everybody see's different things in an image everybody interprets things differently, i just want these ideas to come out. i totally feel the same about Aid it just has to end i mean these terrible images that are sent to the western world have to stop. people in third world countries have to finally be inspired to move and change things because too many people are unhappy but they are so brainwashed into thinking that they cant do or achieve anything that's why we have corrupt leaders filling their pockets because they are leading a country that's filled with low esteemed people filled with people who have no hope, of change who only see aid and know that their leaders are stealing from them but are not doing anything about it..all the things that are happening in these countries are happening because the people are allowing it and i get it they have been inflicted with fear and i said most of them are all just so demoralized that they see no point little do they know that there is hope if they all got together and finally started working towards achieving their ideas Africa has potential its just not using it because it is filled with great ideas that are to demoralized to shine out, that's why i think that images or visualization could encourage the youth in particular to overcome this fear to inspire and to interpret and to React in the manner they want and then to inquire for the help they need and to say exactly what they want and how they plan to achieve this. Thats how development will come out, sparking people's senses its no words no commands just look, interpret and let your mind work.
  • Nov 28 2012: Education through images is really effective because brain can recognize information from them in the fastest way.
  • Nov 28 2012: A picture is worth a thousand words Semiotics Visual Andchoring Pictures used as you suggested Pictures used to influence thoughts. Jesus on the Cross in certain countries- Not just Christians Consider Rumi, a Sufi Master Pictures can be painted with words/poetry I believe this is a fertile place to start and grow from and towards.
  • Nov 28 2012: Thank you for the comments, i know that this idea will require a lot of redrafting and working on but i just think that it could work.I mean as Fritzie said there are certain signs that we directly recognize, like traffic light colors.
    I know that there are different cultural beliefs and literacy levels but that's the good part about images they aren't that hard to understand i mean i am thinking for example if i were to show a rural place the actual impact of AIDS wouldn't they just interpret how serious the illness really is?
    then there is children i think that images could give children inspiration as they start to interpret things and it will lead to them asking questions, REACTING.
    Jacqui thank you for that comment, yes i know that words are also a form of art but i am just thinking that there needs to be another approach to transferring knowledge to certain places. i mean i want to get the people to be curious to get the people to start asking questions to start doing to start having ideas and i think that images could really do that. And it would be a new approach. once this inspiration to know, or to interpret has been sparked in people's minds is when we can turn to speech and hear the opinions and broaden people's interpretation. i just want people in third world countries especially in rural areas to finally have some sort of awareness.
    For example there has always been droughts in certain areas in Kenya and the population in those areas was relative small due to this, but then there was food donations and suddenly the population in those areas grew massively but the droughts did not stop and now what do we have? starving infants and children.. that's not right..i mean even lions don't produce if they don't have access to water..these people need to be shown that this is not right they need to be shown that they cant just live off donations they need to develop and adjust and learn to live in their environment.i think images could initiate development
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      Nov 28 2012: The idea of depicting information visually is a popular thing rather than a new thing.

      Here are two things to look up. On TED as part of the TEDxChange event this year, a designer from IDEO spoke about how they assist populations in the area of health. One idea he shows is that we assume more commonality in the interpretation of graphic images than there is.
      They use images, of course, and manipulatives but also listen more than talk and show.
      Another is the word "infographics," which has been a big area of focus over the last few years, because of the effectiveness of conveying information via images.

      In the particular case you mention of the seriousness of AIDS, I doubt that a visual image you show people would have more impact in conveying the seriousness of the disease than they experience in the form of the pain of all the deaths around them where AIDS is common, orphans being brought by grandmothers and older children and so forth. We see these photographs and accounts and from those visualize the problem. It is still different from living in the village where the photos were taken.
      • Nov 28 2012: yes i agree that there are a lot of orphaned children who do not have any parents and end up on the streets many of them don't even know why their parents or of what they died from.. so they themselves infected go on to spread the disease to others and that's how we get generations of families with Aids. i have witnessed this sort of a thing first hand, there isn't even enough information Aids surprisingly is still a very hushed up thing in particular in Africa were and i am appalled to repeat this but Men have sayings such as "how can you enjoy a banana with the peel on"... and women fall for this..i know its horrible but its true... so yes there are people who live with the tragedy of Aids but we see their tragedy on TV and their suffering but the majority live with Aids around and have no idea its there and go on spreading it more when some people are dying of Aids sometimes the children are told that they had cancer or something.. they Don't mention Aids, too much is hushed under the rug for the majority.