Kelsey’s Visual Rhetoric

  1. These images cause me to really dwell on the history of events that has created the America we know today. While, some are tragedies that took place, some are very positive and create the happiness in Americans. In order for these images to be meaningful one does not need to live through the event because it can impact generations for many years after an event takes place. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. was not something that I lived through but it still has meaning to me because of impact that he had on America by diminishing most racism. These twelve photos support the three visual rhetoric principles, that were mentioned in the chapter, because of the ability for them to create negative and positive responses by the viewer, the visual message is efficient because the images are all iconic and most people understand what is happening in each picture. Also there are not many words in these images and even the McDonald’s does not need to be on the sign for Americans to know that it is a McDonalds, this is because of the elimination of spoken and written words and the impact that images have on todays culture.
  2. Each image alters perception because what one sees as an iconic or positive event another could view as negative. The perception of the images depends on how one was raised, their beliefs and the background of where they come from. For example, the McDonald’s sign can be seen as a positive image for those that enjoy eating there, but for the health freaks they view McDonalds as a negative image towards America. The viewer determines the meaning of the image so everyone will have different views or feelings about the images. Each image serves a consummatory or instrumental purpose because the viewer either is honoring the image or the viewer seeks clear action due to the image. For example, the zero gravity image is an example of consummatory purpose because when one looks at the image they honor all that were lost on 9/11. Some images do a better job at achieving this honor or appreciation because of the history behind the image or the meaning that goes into the image. Someone is not going to honor McDonalds as much as they honor the police or Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. The general tone of these images differ depending on the image because some can be seen as a positive but some are very negative. For example, Pearl Harbor is a very vivid image that can be seen as a negative image due to the events that took place during that time. The positive images such as the legalizing of gay marriage and Martin Luther King Jr. is seen as a positive since it is allowing more people to have rights in our county. Baseball and McDonald’s are fairly positive since they bring joy, entertainment and happiness to most Americans. Basic elements affect the tone of images because the color and lighting can change the meaning of an image from negative to positive. If an image is black and white or dark it can be seen as negative more often than if an image is bright and colorful, color also affects the mood of what is happening in the photo. Focus can also affect the meaning because if something is sharp then it is seen as objective and distancing where if it is fuzzy it is seen as intimate and subjective.
  4. For most of the images I do not think that there is a target audience, however for the Gay marriage image of the LBGT flags that is mostly directed towards the LBGT community since it has a lot more meaning towards them. Also the image of the Christmas tree are for those that celebrate and believe in Christmas. The general audiences for the rest of the images are Americans all ages because they can be affected by any of these topics. I do not think any of them are nondiscriminating, but there are many controversial images that I chose. For example, Martin Luther King Jr., the blue police line, and LBGT, but the images are not suggesting anything rather than persuading others to support others in their country. Some images do have consumer interest, like the Apple symbol, McDonalds, Wall Street, and Black Friday shopping.
  5. I believe most of my images are primary, however ground zero and Pearl Harbor are more primary than Black Friday in my opinion. Most of my images are culture specific because they are aimed at Americans so they would not mean much of anything to people from other countries. For example, Black Friday is only something Americans can relate to, ground zero is a memorial for Americans, and Pearl Harbor is viewed differently to Americans than to Japan causing it to have different meaning depending on the culture. On the other hand, McDonalds and Apple are universal images because it has the same meaning anywhere in the world. The images do create an enthymematic response because some just by looking at the image give off the meaning of devastation to America. Ground zero and Pearl Harbor makes an American cringe or sad when looking at the images because it related to devastation.
  6. The meaning of most images would not change in meaning depending on a change in pictorial composite. There a few images that would lose there meaning though if the colors changed. The LBGT flags and the blue police line would no longer have meaning if they were to change colors because then it would not be representing their symbolic colors that helps them hold a specific meaning just by looking at an image.
  7. The photographer of the image could influence the meaning and credibility of an image. I do not believe that the photographer really impacts any of the images I chose, but depending on who took the photo then it could slightly change. So for Black Friday someone could of taken the photo to show that they are anti Black Friday because it is taking away from the meaning of Thanksgiving. The LBGT image could have been taken by someone that does not agree then changing the meaning of the picture.
  8. The twelve images that I chose represent the culture of America in my viewpoint. They all combine to show how America has changed, the joy of America, and controversial issues that Americans are still working on figuring out. However, I do not think any one images is more important than another. The meaning of the images together can be different depending on the viewer. So one viewer could see the blue line for police and that would be the most important image to them. I see the image of the baseball stadium and that sticks out to me because of my interests. So the response to any one image depends on a person’s interest.




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