Kaitlin’s Visual Rhetoric


  1. All of these pictures represent something major that has happened in the United States. I picked these 12 images because they all have had a major impact on the people of the United States. All of them have changed the lives of many people. These pictures make me feel both sad and happy. Some of the pictures portray times when America needed help, but others show times of advancement in America. For example, I chose to use two different photos about women voting. I think this was one of the biggest advancements for women in US history. These two pictures make me feel grateful for the ones that fought before me. They have allowed me to live a life full of privileges. I used the Martin Luther King I Have a Dream picture to show the progress African Americans have made in the United States. These pictures make me feel hopeful that someday we can totally resolve the race issue that we have come so far on already. All of the images I have selected are very powerful in their own way, and have shaped the world today. I did not have to live through these events for them to be meaningful to me. For example, I used the Rosie the Riveter poster because it represents women’s rights. I did not live through that era but it has influenced the world I live in today. If there had not been women’s rights activist, then women would still be suffering today. These photos support the first principle of visual rhetoric because they are all pervasive. All of these photos are powerful in their own way. The photos have become iconic to American people. People can recognize these pictures without having any words said to them. These photos support the second principle because all of these photos could have a positive or negative response to them. For example, the picture of Obama and others looking on when Osama was being killed, could cause both positive reactions, because we took him down or it also could bring back all of the things that he had done and cause people to be sad. These pictures support the third principle because they all impact people’s emotions in some way. These photos can just be looked at and people automatically know what they are. It will bring back everything that happened during that event, even if the person did not live through it.
  2. Each photo creates a virtual experience by allowing us to see it how we want to. We can infer things about the picture. Some may see it as an important image in many aspects and others may just tie the picture to one important thing that happened. For example, the photo of President Obama could be viewed as important because he was the first African American president. Others may see this picture and think he was the 44th president of the US. Some of these pictures everyone will see the same importance. For example, Rosie the Riveter was iconic for one reason. The words on the sign read “We can do it”. Adding the words makes it harder to place another meaning other than women’s rights to the picture. I think that all of these photos have a consummatory purpose because individuals can reflect on them and gather the information that they think is most important. However, I believe the three photos that have to do with women’s rights have an Instrumental purpose because they tried to alter actions and attitudes towards women. These three images measure up to their purpose more because like I said before these images only have one true meaning.
  3. The overall tone to these images is inspiration and sadness. They all have impacted the United States in some way putting us to where we are today. For example, the picture of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech inspired many African Americans to fight for equality. In today’s world we have an African American president. This just shows that what people have fought for has made a difference in today’s world. Sadness comes into play when we look at the hurricane Katrina photo, the 9/11 photo, and the Boston bombings photo. These are all sad images because of the deaths but in a way are still inspirational because our country has bounced back even after the most tragic events. The most technical feature in this collage are the people in the pictures. The photos with people convey more emotion than those without. It is easier to be more empathetic for the photos with people. For example, the picture of the mom hugging her daughter after coming home from Iraq is a photo that is easy to understand. This woman is so happy to finally see her daughter after years of fighting in war. The pictures without people may be harder to understand because we have to pick what emotion to feel. For example, the picture of Pearl Harbor may need someone to get more history of the photo before knowing exactly how they feel. With this being said, the pictures with people in them are more inspirational in my opinion.
  4. I think that the target audience is everyone. For some pictures history would have to be taught, but every adult in today’s world that has gone through some type of education would understand these photos. These photos apply to some more than others however. For example, the three about women’s right just have to do with women so in a way they are discriminating against men. The consumer interest in all of these photos would be how the world has changed. For example, I used older pictures as well as newer pictures just to show the difference in today’s world. The consumer interest would also be world changing events. All of these photos have impacted the world in some way, that is why people usually can identify them. There are no voyeur tendencies portrayed in these pictures.
  5. The photos that have a primary appeal are again the three about women’s rights. These photos were made to persuade the audience that women too should have the right to vote and work just like men. The other photos are portraying an event, not trying to persuade anyone. I think that these photos are cultural specific to the time period. For example, people that do not know about the attack on Pearl Harbor may just think that is a photo of an explosion somewhere. Another example is the picture from hurricane Katrina. Some people may not know how many people were harmed by that. They may just see the picture as a flood. However most of the pictures speak for themselves. Like I already said, the emotions that we can see in them give us a better understanding about how we should feel. The enthymematic response that we get to these pictures is sadness, horror, and inspiration.
  6. I think that the focus of these images plays a big role on how people perceive them. For example, I think that if the hurricane Katrina picture would have focused more on the people instead of the houses people would have a better understanding of the photo. Another example is if the Boston bombing photo would have showed the aftermath it may have triggered more emotion. Instead it shows it when it first happened.
  7. In my pictures I don’t think it matters who took the pictures. If I would have taken the picture of Obama being named the new president I think it would be just as understood as the picture, I have here. I think it more matters what the picture is of rather than who took it. However, if it was a cartoon picture we would know the person would be making fun of Obama not praising him for being the first African American president. Context is more important than who took it in my opinion.
  8. With all of these photos being combined it shows that America has went through a lot in the past but we always find a way to make things better. I used the hurricane Katrina example because it destroyed all of New Orleans, what pictures don’t show is how much we came together to help rebuild. I also think that seeing the Martin Luther King picture and the Obama becoming president picture really speaks a lot for how far African Americans have come. On the other hand, we see a picture from 9/11 and from the Boston bombings and it just puts into perspective that we still have a lot of problems with terrorism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s