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Visual Narrative

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by

Dominic Mann

on 12 November 2012

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Transcript of Visual Narrative

Visual Narrative Why use a visual narrative What makes it different? My understanding of a visual narrative in short is a story told by pictures, illustrations or video. A voice within a visual narrative can be used also Since man could walk there have been recordings of everyday life and key moments in history that have been drawn on walls over 40,000 years ago. They are a way on conveying thoughts, feelings and everyday things that happen, we take many of these small images for granted in our lives. An example of this can be seen on your phone or computer, the small icon of an envelope creates the thought in our mind of an email or a text when it is just an image of an envelope. What is it? It the the power to tell a story, pressing issue, social issue or pretty much anything with a meaning that should be expressed.
Effectively it is a method in which a story is told and in a different way. If you think about the statement:
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
This gives the idea of a visual narrative some weight as we all react to an image and it has the power to stimulate hundreds of thoughts in our mind. The distinguishable qualities of a visual narrative is that is it to be told by images in some shape or form. Be that still high resolution pictures to create a photo essay or a group of images to create a short film or documentary.
The difference in a visual narrative is that it is mainly told by images and words, speech can accompany but the main point of a visual essay, believe it or not is the pictures. does it work? In a word, yes it does. Pictures really do speak a thousand words and they can tell a story or at very least. Film makers, artists, designers and many other professions use visual narratives in there work and use it to show a story to you and me. I started to research and took a look at these opening credits, you can get the idea and feel of the program just from these stills... As you can see from the stills and the video, the images let us know that this is about the human anatomy, blood, death and identity. It is in fact the opening sequence of Dexter, a tv series thriller in which the main character is a serial killer with OCD.
It is interesting to see how the director has placed us with the idea of what is about to come from close ups of skin and detailed shots of cutting and blood. I began to research further and decided to look into a much more basic form of a visual narrative....comics. Im sure we have all read one or glanced at one as they are very easy to 'read'. They simply consist of a strip of images either with speech bubbles or without. I had a look at the most obvious and famous to me at the time and saw the visual narrative at work, a slide of images helping tell the story of what Peanuts has been up to. As we live in the western world we read left to right and so the strips of images are set out in this way. As we can see, images can tell a story on their own and can be assisted with text. Sound can also play a huge role in telling a story, take a look at this clip... Not incredibly scary but enough to make you know what sort of film this is going to be and what you could expect.
The high pitched violins coupled with the deep blood red and flickering light as if the word has come from hell itself create a story in your head. If we were to have no sound then it would have a lot less power in creating fear.
In order to summarize this, I believe that we are given visual narratives as we find them easier to digest in our mind, it is far more stimulating to the human brain if we are shown images rather than text. Along side this point i feel that images have more power than words as we can see a sentence such as this:
"THE MAN SITS AS HE IS BURNT ALIVE"
or the image that could be replaced with the words: For me the picture create more questions and have more of an effect on me. It is the way in which we understand these effects the visual medias and how we use them to create the best effect on an audience.
I have included some images that show some visual narratives to end this presentation on, they are pictures taken of famous original documents in the British Library....
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