Choose a photograph of a person to share with your group. The photograph should not be of you or made by you. This photograph must exist in a form outside of your computer or cell phone and it also should not be from a book. It can be in a frame, printed in a magazine or newspaper, on a billboard, printed on packaging, an advertisement, hanging in a gallery or museum. You will need to take a photograph of the photograph you choose to upload with this assignment. The image you upload should be well lit and easy to “read,” visually speaking.
1. Visual and material analysis (2 paragraphs). Push yourself to 1) be as specific as possible in your visual description and 2) think about visual elements beyond the subject matter. How is the photograph composed? What is the perspective or vantage point? Is the photographer high up, near to or faraway from the subject, is it an extreme close up? How does that affect the image? Does the subject fill the frame? Is color used in an interesting way? What about line? It is often useful to begin by describing the overall scene (“This photograph depicts a long view down a wooded valley in autumn” or “This photograph shows a group of five men standing on a dock at sunrise”) and then move into more specific elements of your visual analysis. At the end of this section, describe the materiality of the image/object: is it a photograph printed on paper? Is it printed in a newspaper or magazine? Is it hanging on your wall in a frame? Is is poster in your room? Is it printed on your coffee mug? Note that the minimum length for this section is two full paragraphs.
2. Contextual (physical location) interpretation (1-2 paragraphs). Interpret the photograph you selected within its current context. What meaning does the photograph communicate? How? To what audience? What is the relationship between what the image looks like, where it appears, and how a viewer will understand it? For example, an image alone of a swimming champion may communicate a sense of victory, optimism, health and strength through a range of visual features that you identify. But we never seen images in a vacuum. So: if you see this swimming champion photograph framed in someone’s home, it may also communicate family pride or personal accomplishment. Yet if you see this same photograph of a swimming champion on a cereal box, it may alternatively communicate that eating that cereal will make you, the consumer, strong and healthy. To figure out what and how a photograph is communicating, it can often help to imagine that very same photograph in a different context. NOTE: You will have to think about context, defined this way, for the rest of the course. You must think about WHERE you are seeing the photograph in question and WHO the audience is, based on that particular location in the world, to succeed with this component. To be clear: this is not the context of when and how the photograph was originally made but the context of how it exists and is seen now in the world, by a particular audience.
SECTION 2 EXAMPLES:
Example #1: If you choose a magazine image, it?s important to explain what the magazine is, who reads it, and how the audience is likely to understand the image in that particular context. You can (and should) be even more detailed as you explain if a photograph in a magazine is run as an advertisement, a cover image, or part of an editorial story. Are you looking at an ad in Glamour? Men’s Health? National Geographic? What demographics read these magazines? All of the things matter in terms of how the photograph is communicating, and I want you all to practice explaining how this works.
Example #2: If you choose a snapshot, consider… Is the photograph framed and displayed on your bedside table? How is the audience for that photograph different than if the photograph is framed and displayed in a more public living space, like over a fireplace in the living room? What does that mean about how the photograph is being circulated? Or is the photograph tucked away in your wallet, something you keep close to you all the time? Why do people keep photographs in different ways like this? Who gets to see the image? When?
Example #3: If you choose an art photographs from an art magazines… How does that magazine present the images within it as ?art?? Where does the magazine circulate? Can you buy it at the grocery store check out aisle? Why not? Who is the audience? How is the image presented on the page? is it all alone? Presented with text?
3. Compare (1-2 paragraphs). Compare your photograph to another photograph of a person from this course?s past several lessons and provided links (you can choose something from the lesson or something from one of the website I’ve linked to.) Compare why the images were made, what they look like, and how they were circulated. You will upload BOTH photographs.