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Visual Analysis

Understanding Visual Sources

Karl Serrato

on 6 November 2014

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Transcript of Visual Analysis

VISUAL Analysis
Understanding the image
They say
an image
is worth

A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
A thousand words
To say that
is to say
Images communicate
And are potentially
Many Things
This image was featured on the
of the Los Angeles Time News Paper
in 2003
Front Page
To understand the bigger picture, we'll need to understand the components that make it up.
On face value, it appears to show a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians under fire in Basra.
The shot was praised for the dramatic action it captured but unfortunately, it proved to be modified image-a combination two images rather than an original.
This is one of the
original images
This is the other.
Here they are combined.

When asked why the photographer did this he replied by saying:
'It improved compostion'
What does he mean?
As with all texts, Images are captured or created in order to

The composition of an Image describes the way in which different techniques are arranged and utilized within the image in order to Effectively communicate meaning.
Visual Analysis
Remember that in visual sources (as it should be in any text) nothing is included by accident: the composer has chosen for it to be there, or tried their best to manipulate it to their advantage, one way or another.
The following table can be used as a guideline for deconstructing images:
What is happening?
How is the relationship developed between the viewer, the image and the image maker?
How is the image composed?
-Action qualities
-Concept qualities
- Angles
- Shot distances
- Color
- Offers or demands
- Reading paths
- Lines and vectors
- Layout
- Ideal/real
- Given/new
Action= what is happening

Concept= what ideas are communicated
Offer: no direct eye contact made between subject and viewer
Demand: direct eye contact between subject and viewer
Ideal refers to the top half of the image, Real refers to the bottom
Given refers to the left side of the image, New refers to the right side of the image
In Action
we can see that when the two images are combined, the action and concept qualities are greatly enhanced:
For example,
Action Quality: the interaction between the soldier and the civilian becomes more dynamic and direct

Concept Quality: the increase in the action quality increases the tensions of war and danger
Your Turn
See if you can identify the rest of the analytical components as they occur in the final image.
Has it been changed for the better?
Images can send us in many directions,
but much of where it sends us and what we find,
depends on our ability to
deconstruct understand
what we see
and why we see it that way.
Full transcript