I have a persistent vision

What is a persistent vision?

It’s a physical phenomenon, and it’s a philosophy. The physical phenomenon is known more properly as persistence of vision. It’s the phenomenon that explains how a series of still photographs can appear to be a moving picture. The brain sees the still pictures with slight differences and connects them logically to suggest motion. Motion pictures rely on this phenomenon so that a series of still pictures projected at a rate of 24/second can look like smooth motion. It works with flip books too. So with each frame there’s a persistent vision.

As a philosophy, a persistent vision suggests one that continues to exist over a prolonged period. The environmental/cultural factors may change, but the vision remains. It persists.

I work in a visual communication field, teaching and conducting research primarily related to photojournalism. Walter Williams, first dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, set forth his vision of journalism in The Journalist’s Creed. In that spirit, I offer my persistent vision:

I have a persistent vision…

  • that pictures communicate in ways that words cannot.
  • that visual documentation of events is an essential part of the public and historical record.
  • that photographers/videographers/designers are skilled communicators using specialized tools and methods of communication.
  • that visual journalism is valuable and deserves support from the industry and the public.

That is my persistent vision. I recognize its idealistic nature. The real world often conflicts with the points in my vision, but without idealism there is little to strive for. So in a world where newspapers lay off entire photography staffs, where anyone with a camera can share photographs with the world and where people think anything on the internet is free to use, my vision for vision communication will persist. I may not change attitudes, but I will continue to hold fast to my vision.

That’s the perspective I’ll take in this blog. I’ll share topics related to visual communication, and I’ll comment on them. And through it, you’ll know my persistent vision.

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