Visual Rhetoric

1. We live in a Visual Culture

We live in a visual culture. We are saturated in images at nearly every moment of our waking lives. For this reason, it is important to develop critical thinking skills that allow us to read images. I challenge you to engage with images actively instead of passively. Take the images apart in order to understand their messages. Accept, reject, or qualify those claims.

2. Visual Media as Texts

Learning to read images, deconstruct, and engage with them will make us better readers of texts, and vice versa.

Visual materials that accompany written arguments serve several purposes. First, they appeal to the reader’s emotions. While images can be logical, they first appeal to the senses of the reader before they are analyzed more logically. In other words, their immediate impact is more on the viewer’s heart than the mind.

Pictures can also serve as visual evidence, establishing proof that something occurred or appeared in a certain way. Pictures can help clarify data with graphs and tables and can also be used to confuse or trick an audience with graphs and tables.

Pictures can add humor or satire to an argument.

Visual images can be read as text, as such we need to think critically about them. Looking closely we can discern not only what they show but also how and why.

Images as Arguments

Images can be used to help us see the argument that the author is intending. They can be used to lower our skepticism, visual proof of something that happened. This is problematic nowadays with the popularity of programs such as Photoshop, where images can be changed or manipulated. Now more than ever, we have to be weary of taking images at face value. We have to critically think about images and their intended effect.

Three basic questions we can ask.

  1. Who produced the image?
  2. Who distributed the image?
  3. Who consumed the image?

Our textbook suggests a rule for writers. If you think that pictures will help you make the point you are arguing, include them with captions explaining their sources and relevance.

The Limits of Panic

The Limits of Panic

What stood out to you? What was interesting? What did you agree or disagree with? Was his argument persuasive?

Problem/Solution

  • Bullying
  • Student Motivation

Clearly define the problem and solution.

  1. 1 Sentence Problem
  2. Few Sentences Solution

Comment below with your problem solution.

I Have a Dream Speech

The now famous speech “I have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King was aided by visuals when it was delivered.

He is at the Washington Monument, speaking to hundreds of thousands, smiling and waving. Behind him is the Lincoln Memorial.

In this Aug. 28, 1963, black-and-white file photo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The 45th anniversary of the iconic leader’s most memorable speech coincides with the day when another African-American leader, Barack Obama, is scheduled to makes a historic speech of his own, accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president of the United States Aug. 28, 2008, in Denver, Colo. (AP Photo/File)

 

This image shows him speaking with people and some police behind him. The image you choose to use will add meaning to your text. Be careful which images you choose.

What does it say if we use his mug shot from one of the many protests he was arrested at?

Or this one.

Have you ever seen this image of Dr. King?

Or this one?

Time’s Man of the Year 1964

The image your choose can help your audience understand your argument.