All creatures great and small

Nov 30, 2020 · 4 min read

This week Orchard’s Creative Copywriter, Rosie Hidier, discusses the power of words in a world where we’re told “a picture tells a thousand words.

Photo by Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash

Last week I went to visit the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Maritime Museum down the road, and it did not disappoint. Packed with incredible (and a few disturbing) images, it always leaves me a little awestruck. A combination of the pure beauty, elegance, and complexity of the animals themselves, as well as the ability of these photographers to get up close and personal, at that perfect moment, and capture something fascinating. (Also the fact that the young photographer category was from children under 11!!).

Credit: The Moment, Yonqing Bao, China

This was the Grand Title Winner — the marmot’s reaction is almost comical, but at the same time chilling.

Credit: Cradle of life, Stefan Christmann

In this one, the photographer has managed to capture the baby penguin hatching from its egg, which is being lovingly incubated upon the father’s feet in his ‘brood pouch’.

Credit: Fluff Formation, Stefan Christmann

From the same photographer, this one captures the young penguins forming their own disorderly huddle while their parents go off fishing. Apparently, these huddles are called crèches — how cute!

Credit: Fabien Michenet, Jelly Baby

This one was pretty cool — here a jackfish is hitching a ride under the soft umbrella of the jellyfish, whose tentacles will also deter any predators, making for the perfect travel buddy.

Ok, I know, you’re wondering why I’m just showing you pretty pictures when what you really want is for me to talk about WORDS. Tell us more about COPY Rosie I hear you say.

Well seeing as you mentioned it, as well as being blown away by the photography, I also found myself appreciating how the clever — and witty — titles of each photograph could transform the snapshot of a moment, into a much bigger story. With just a couple of cleverly thought out words, these incredible photographs had even greater meaning. Let me show you what I mean…

Credit: Lucky Break, Jason Bantle

I wasn’t sure what to think when I first saw this, and the heading made me rethink my initial reaction. Apparently this raccoon and her five cubs selected this abandoned car as the ideal den, because the only entrance — through a blunt-edged hole in the glass — was large enough for her but too small for predators such as coyotes. The title? Lucky Break.

Credit: Creation, Luis Vilarino

Again, at first look, I couldn’t really tell what was going on here. It’s actually a shot taken from a helicopter of red-hot lava from the Kīlauea volcano boiling the cool Pacific Ocean, creating hundreds of acres of new land. The title? Creation.

Credit: Beach Waste, Matthew Ware

This might look like an appealing desert island beach scene. But on closer inspection, you discover that the turtle is actually dead — having suffered a neck wound from the strap of an abandoned beach chair ☹. The title? Beach waste.

Credit: Last Gasp, Adrian Hirschi

Until I read the title, I thought this was a loving parent Hippo giving their youngster a lift. Turns out it’s a male hippo killing the infant hippo because it’s not his — apparently believing he can increase his reproductive success by killing off the female’s kids and having his own with her. The title? Last gasp.

Credit: Dinner Duty, Tommy Pedersen

In this one, Daddy owl is delivering dinner to his chick, who is nestled safely under the protective wing of its mother. The title? Dinner duty.

Credit: Framed, Florian Smit

And finally, I thought this title cleverly leveraged what isn’t the most exciting visual (to me), giving the hunched figure of a rat a greater role in the scene of this derelict house. The title? Framed.

While I’m a firm believer that a picture tells a thousand words, words will always have their place. Whether it’s a caption or a headline, a few carefully selected words can really transform our understanding and interpretation of a visual.

So the moral of the story … never underestimate the power of words (and copywriters) 😃

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Invent Better

Brought to you by Orchard: Creating Customer Experiences for a Modern World.