The Power of Pictures

Using images to explore our values and how they impact on the wider world, and to identify shared values


This is all about exploring the power of pictures. You will consider existing images and then create your own.


Source some news photographs either from books, the internet or current newspapers. Try to find pictures that capture whole stories – that speak louder than words.  There are some very famous images from news reporting over the years that you might want to use as starting points. A good source of these is the Time Magazine 100 most influential images of all time archive.

The Power of Pictures

Have you heard the phrase “a picture paints 1000 words”? What does it mean to you? What do you think is the power of pictures? Together, look at the pictures you have sourced without any context and discuss what everyone thinks they are about.

  • What makes them striking images?
  • What are the values and messages behind each picture?

Next, talk about values and how some news photos have shown such powerful images and spoken so strongly to people’s core values that they have literally changed the world. Some pictures of hungry children have resulted in huge aid efforts, other pictures taken in war zones have helped to bring about peace.

  • Do any of the photos show the importance of anyone in the group’s core values?
  • What about values that the group believes to be important?

Picture your own moments

Ask everyone to sit quietly for a moment and try to think of one of the best times they’ve had in the group. Once everyone has an event, ask them to try and take a single snapshot in their minds that captures the moment. After that, ask them to get it really clear in their heads.

On their own, or in small groups, get them to describe or draw their moments. Are there any qualities or values that all their moments share?

Each group should choose a moment. Draw a picture and/or write a description of the moment to share with the group. Really try and capture the moment. Think about the time of day, the weather, the noises, the smells and the feelings the people in the photo have.

Come back together

Feed the snapshots back to the whole group and try to come up with the values that are essential for picture perfect group moments.

  • What shared values do these photos have?
  • Can you think of any other times you have experienced values in action?
  • Are there any values that you would like to see more of in your group?

Take it Further

If you enjoyed this activity you might want to check out Images to Icons about the power of symbols or In the Picture about how young people are portrayed in the media.

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