Powerful Images Don’t Need Any Words to Grab Your Attention


Powerful images can simply take your breath away, like this one from the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle. I recently visited this extraordinary exhibit of sculptures designed by renowned American glassmaker Dale Chihuly. I took the above photo, just one part of swirling mass of color in a glass ceiling. It’s stunning even in an iPhone image.

Chihuly’s work is displayed around the world in museums, public spaces, private collections and, famously, the Billagio Hotel lobby in Las Vegas.

Words Weren’t Needed

While the exhibit rooms had themes, there weren’t any descriptions of the individual pieces. I always read the tiny cards next to paintings when I visit museums. Maybe I need them to tell me what the painting is about.

But Chihuly’s artistry needs no words. It made me realize – as if I didn’t know it before – that images can be so much more powerful than words. As a professional writer, I live by words and do my best to create visual images. But I’m no Shakespeare:

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek… “Romeo and Juliet”

 Words could be used to describe these open petals, but why use words when this beautiful image “says” it so much better.


I’ll close by letting you wander through this dazzling glass sculpture garden. It’s a reminder that when writing, bring your content to life with images. They will grab your readers’ attention and emotions more than a thousand words.

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  1. Jeannette, these pics are stunning. Maybe we cannot go to a museum to afford us a photo opp like this to supplement our writing. Maybe we can look to our everyday surroundings as we travel about and be aware for that photo opp. Maybe we can do more justice to grabbing our reader’s attention by combining both words and powerful images.

    • Pat — agree powerful images and compelling writing are a winning combination. I didn’t know I was using my visit to the museum as a “photo opp.” I just had to record the images and then I needed to share them.

  2. Dale Chihuly’s sculptures are definitely interesting and different. In the right environment they can have a huge impact.

    Agree with you completely about the power of images and have worked accordingly all my life. A picture definitely paints a thousand words…

    • Catarina — To see Chihuly’s sculptures is like escaping into another world. They are so distinctive and powerful I was totally captivated.

  3. Chihuly’s work is spectacular. A friend brought it to my attention a few years ago and it never gets tired. If we could find images that came close to his work for making an impression, we’d be laughing.

    • Debra — his work is spectacular and it literally took my breath away to see so many of his pieces in one exhibit. They are truly unique.

  4. These pictures are amazing! Cant decide which I like better the first one or the last one, but they would make beautiful screensavers. Does prove your point though, pictures really draw people to our writing/blog and help keep them there. It adds so much to our content to help keep their interest and helps gets points across quicker and easier sometimes, obviously why the infographics have become so popular.

    • Susan — I used a part of the top image as my iPhone screen saver (and changed it right in the museum). Also used it as the banner in my personal LinkedIn page where you can now have a masthead as you can for a business page.

  5. Jeannette- Your images are fantastic. It makes you want to touch them. Dale Chihuly’s sculptures are breathtaking. If you have ever watch someone create the glass works, it is fascinating. I think Dale’s work appears to all. Who says that US can’t make sculptures as pretty as Murano Glass.

    • Arleen — I agree. Chihuly’s work is as beautiful and important as any glassmaker in the world. And he’s exhibited around the world. Honestly, the exhibit simply took my breath away. That’s why I had to share them.

  6. I went to a Chihuly exhibit in Miami a few years back. It was partially outdoors and partially indoors. Like you, I was totally captivated. His work is simply remarkable, in my opinion. I stayed for hours!!! But you really captured these vivid colors in the images Jeannette. I’m a writer too…but you really nailed when you said that some things just don’t need words…there are none that could adequately express the beauty of some of these works.

  7. One of my favorite parts about visiting Seattle is the proliferation of art glass. I’ve a small collection and if I ever move into a bigger house, I know it will grow even more.

    • Jeri — I love china and glassware. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately!) I have a long row of storage cabinets against one wall and I always seem to find room for just one more piece!

  8. Wow! for the first time, I am seeing the impact of images without words. This pictures are great. I pinned the three pictures. Thanks for sharing this great masterpiece.

  9. HI Jeannette; while you know i can’t appreciate the images I can certainly appreciate the lesson. and its something i need to do more with but my posts don’t always lend themselves to images. and i don’t have a big enough store of them on hand or an easy way to search for them. one of these days I’m going to hire someone to help with all my blog posts including images. 🙂 thanks again for the reminder, max

    • Max — It is too bad that you can’t see the images. Trust me they are beautiful. You might consider enlisting a corps of volunteers to help search for images for your blog posts. I’d volunteer if I knew a topic in advance. I’ve just come upon another site with free images that you could use.

  10. Jeannette, this images were amazing and as you said, a good photo can add a lot to your blog. I liked all of them but the last one was definitely my favourite. Thanks for sharing this with us who won’t have the opportunity to visit the exhibit.

    • Leni — the last image is of a glass “garden” that filled an entire room. This image couldn’t capture the grandeur of it all.

    • You’re welcome, Meredith. It was sort of like being in a church. I don’t recall anyone talking as they perused the exhibit. Too breathtaking for words.

  11. What gorgeous images. color does evoke strong responses, doesn’t it? Symbols guide us through much of our lives and we would probably have to read tons and tons more if we didn’t have them. They convey so much more than literal meanings.

  12. Truly inspiring and to think all those beautiful glass pieces are created from grains of sand and passion. Makes you think of all the simple beauty that surrounds us everyday, if we just learn to slow down and open our eyes wider once in awhile. Thanks for sharing your photos!

    • Paul — thank you for introducing me to Dale Chihuly! I think I must be the only one on the planet who hadn’t heard of him. My friends have visited his exhibits in New York and elsewhere. Not surprising. His work is so breathtaking.

  13. Jeannettte, this are lovely. You have a wonderful eye.

    In general, I wonder what kind of images grab one’s attention. For example, if one is posting about Facebook links, would an image of Chihuly’s work be fitting? I try to get exciting images to liven up posts, and I struggle with the image more often than with the text!

    • Leora — sorry for the delay, your comment just popped up! I love Chihuly and didn’t know about him before my visit to Seattle. ! I find the images a challenge, too. It’s hard to find stock images that don’t look cheesy.