“A picture is an assault”

There is no editorial responsibility so serious as the responsibility for pictures. Morally and democratically, the illustrations of a book are far more important than the book. Most of us can read writing, but none of us can help reading picture-reading. We can start reading a printed page and decide whether we will read it; we cannot start looking at a pictured page and decide whether we will see it – we have seen it. Print is at the best a temptation; a picture is an assault. Hence the responsibility of those giving truth through popular histories must be specially judged by whether their pictures are really meant to help the history or only to help the sale. Certainly the pictures of a book sum up and decide its real tendency.

The Illustrated London News, 9 November 1907.

Published in: on November 21, 2007 at 12:46 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I sent this quote to the visn-x mailing list, because it is so applicable to visualisation philosophy. Thanks.

    When I think of this site, I always think “The Abdominal Chesterfield”. Sorry…

  2. I hadn’t made the abdominal connection myself, but in fact it’s appropriate: Chesterton was a heavy man, with a very substantial abdomen.

    Just so long as you don’t think “abominable”; that would be quite false.


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