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Just make it simple. and not have to be good, it's the first draft. 

I want it a complete essay of 2 pages before 10 am on Sunday.

The instructions in the second file. There is a picture in the third file.

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visual analysis

Preparation for Essay #2

The goal:

To make an interpretation of what the creator of the image might be trying to say through the details in their image.

To make a claim about the message/meaning, and defend it with concepts that are portrayed in the image details.

There are many ways to tackle this, and everyone will probably have a different direction in their analysis… It all depends on what kind of image you choose to analyze.

Some key elements to consider

The purpose of the creator

The audience

The way the image was created (style and technique)

The context of the time when it was created (then) and when it is viewed (now)

Describing images

Try to determine what is the focal point of the image, and what details are more secondary or “in the background”

what has more light cast on it and what is more “in the shadows”

Try to recognize potentially symbolic colors or objects:

You can make your own metaphors or interpretations. They just have to be logical.

What feeling or message do you get from how the objects in the image are angled or placed?

Do some freewriting to describe every aspect of the image along with your feelings as you describe it. (will practice later)

Some Terms for visual analysis

Composition How the image is put together. Where are things placed in relationship to each other What is the main figure (focal point)? How are other figures placed in relation to that main figure? Is anything overshadowed? Drawing our attention to some parts more than others creates tone, mood and meaning
Elements of design Different aspects the creator can use to put together an image How does the creator use color, lines, texture, shape, size, value (use of light and dark), text? Meaning can come from what they use and what they don’t use
Symbolic Elements Specific parts of the image that have symbolic or historical meaning (ex: a cross for Christianity, a dove for peace) Are any of the aspects of this piece symbolic? Does the creator intend to use the symbolism directly or more indirectly? Symbols draw on cultural meanings which can work differently for different audiences
Emphasis What catches your eye when you look at the image? The creator will use the various elements of design to create or not create emphasis What the creator emphasizes could be a key piece of evidence for the claim you make.
Proportion The relationship of sizes inside the piece of art, for example the size of one building to another, or a head to the body. Are the proportions realistic or distorted? The creator could be trying to create some sort of metaphor with out of proportion images.

Questions to help analyze an image.

1. Claims: What claims does the image make? What type of claim is it?

Fact Claim: Is it real or really happening?

Definition Claim: What does it mean?

Cause Claim: What is the Cause? What are the effects? How are these related?

Value Claim: How important is this? How should we evaluate it?

Policy Claim: What is the solution? What should we do about it?

Questions to help analyze an image.

2. Visual Composition: How is the image arranged or composed? Which of the following aspects of composition help makes the claim? Examine:

Layout: where images are placed and what catches your attention. How visual “lines” draw your attention to or away from the focal point.

Balance: size of images and how they compare with one another. Is the focal point centered or offset?

Color: how color (or lack of color) draws your attention or creates a mood

Key figures: what is the main focus? How does this contribute to meaning?

Symbols: are there cultural symbols in the image? What do these mean?

Stereotypes : how does image support stereotypes or challenge them?

Exclusions: is there anything left out of the image that you expect to be there?

Questions to help analyze an image.

3. Genre: What is the genre of this image? (examples: fine art, movie, advertisement, poster, pamphlet, news photograph, graphic art etc.).

How does it follow the rules of that genre or break away from them? How does that affect the meaning of the image for the audience?

Is it something you would expect to see in that genre? If not, what is the significance of that?

Questions to help analyze an image.

4. Text: How does any text or caption work to provide meaning to the visual?

5. Appeals: In what ways does it appeal to the audience to believe the claims? Are appeals to logic? Emotion? Character? Authority? Are any of these appeals false or deceiving?

6. Selling: Does the claim move into a sales pitch? Does it use a cultural value or common cultural symbol in a way that exploits that image?

7. Story: What story does this image convey? How does this story help the claim or appeal to the audience?

Rhetorical situation

To get ready to analyze the meaning of the image for the artist and the people viewing the image, it helps to first find out the rhetorical situation.

That means you need to know what the creator was trying to do at that particular point in time, and how the audience reacted.

Sometimes the reaction of the audience that first saw the piece is very different from the reaction you might have.

Citing an Image

In order for your reader to know which image you are talking about, you will probably want to include a copy of that image. You will also need to make sure that in the first paragraph you include all of the information your reader needs to know, such as:

Title of the Image (underline or italics)

Artist's name

Date of work

Where it was published or the name of museum or collection it is now in.

Medium: magazine advertisement, video, oil painting, chalk drawing, pencil sketch, photograph (what type of image it is and what type of art medium was used)


Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange

California in 1936


Essay #2: Visual Analysis

(3-4 double spaced pages)

First Draft Due: Sunday 10/6

Final Draft Due: Sunday 10/13

You will search for and select 3 images from the internet or in print to practice analyzing in class, and ultimately selecting one to write a formal essay about. You could choose an advertisement, a photograph, a painting, a poster, or a drawing. It can be from any time period.

*It is a very good idea at this point to have a way of saving and easily accessing files (USB drive, dropbox, Google drive etc….) as we will be working with these images in class for week 6

You may wish to refer to another image in your essay but the analysis should concentrate centrally only on one image. (any references to another image would be in support to your ideas and should not be focused on too much)

Your paper will ultimately be a thesis-driven essay that:

1) makes a strong claim about the interpretive meaning of the visual and

2) “proves” (makes plausible) that claim with reasonable evidence, especially as gathered through consideration of the visual concepts you explore.

Everything we have learned thus far about analytical thinking can be applied to this essay. A visual image is still a “text” that sends a message and has details that are worth focusing on and analyzing


When writing your essay, consider the three main elements it must communicate to your readers clearly and effectively:

1. Your main claim. This is the overall point of your analysis and should come very early. Think of the

main claim in two parts: first, the argument itself, what you’re going to “prove” (make plausible); and second, what the significance of that argument is (in other words, the answer to the implied question, “So what?”). The significance may come later in your essay (perhaps even as the conclusion), but it still has to be there: why is it important to understand the visual in the way that you do? (The significance usually, but not always, will move beyond the image itself.)

2. Visual concepts. Why are the observations or the way you’re observing persuasive and meaningful?

(For instance, if something is on the border, that means that it is not the focus, or that it is less important in some way; or if something is in black and white, we associate that with, perhaps, elegance, or timelessness, or as being “old fashioned”). It is not that “anything goes” (see WA, 125), but rather that you can explain in some logical way why the observations you make mean what they do. Another way to think about this is to ask, “How does this image function rhetorically?”

3. Evidence to prove, support, illustrate, explain, clarify, demonstrate, bolster the main claim. Include

what you need to make your “case” plausible. Exclude everything else. You are not, remember, just writing a list of observations or having a discussion that moves in multiple directions. Instead, you are to narrow your focus, concentrate on one main idea — do not get sidetracked. There should be a definable, single train of thought that can be followed from the beginning to the end of your essay.

If you consider these three main elements, you’ll see that they’re closely related: you have a claim (of your own) which you’re “proving” with evidence (from your image and perhaps a bit from your experience and background knowledge) which you are showing readers to be reasonable by explaining that evidence by examining visual concepts (which are rather universal).

Assessment Criteria:

The paper should . . .

· have a focused, main claim and include only evidence pertinent to that claim.

· adequately describe the visual image for the reader, but offer no more detail than is necessary for the analysis


· identify the source of the image within the body of the written text and provide a copy of the image.

· make observations concerning the formal elements and principles of the visual text.

· push observations to conclusions (more about this in class).

· analyze how the creator (artist, designer, etc.) used the identified visual elements and principles to affect and

create meaning.

· organize the analysis effectively and logically.

· be formatted correctly (see my email about basic essay formatting)


Week 6 ICA Visual Analysis practice

Directions: This ICA will be a practice analysis for 1, 2, or potentially all 3 images you have selected. Make sure you are looking at the images on your computer or phone while doing this activity. You will start with 1 image and do the three steps. Then you could move on to another image when you feel comfortable. You will type your thoughts on this document. Step 1 and 2 could be lists, Step 3 should be more sentences.

You will email this document to me when we are finished, as well as your images

Step 1: Describe the image.

Spend some time looking at and describing every aspect of this image. Remember to

look at all the elements we talked about in class. Refer back to the powerpoint in the week 6 folder. The more descriptive you are, the easier it will be to make connections.

Step 2: Analyze the elements you described.

In this step, try to make connections from the composition and elements of design, (what you listed in step 1), establish some symbolism/metaphor, figure out some concepts/ideas that are portrayed in this image, work out the significance of the mood or emotions you get from this image, think about the context of the time and place it was created. Keep asking yourself, WHY? or SO WHAT?

Step 3: Establish a claim about this image.

After describing and analyzing, you should in theory be able to verbalize what you think the message or meaning of this image is (whether or not it is the intended meaning from the creator). Spend several sentences describing this message and how you came to this conclusion.

You may start here

Image 1


6 men. 4 workers men. 1 doctor or a researcher. And 1 maybe is an owner of the cow. And 1 animal, a cow. And a large panting of cows and nature. A museum

It shows that they are doing an experience using a cow looking in the paint of others cows.

. They are doing this experience in a museum because there are other paintings. And I think the cow is raised alone to get a good result of expectation.

The main point of this picture is the cow and the painting. And the second is the cow owner, he looks like he is going to understand what the cow feels and interacts.

They were covering the whole painting to surprise the cow from the painting to give a better reaction. They expect that the cow will do something weird like, try to talk, jumping, hit the painting. But It appears that’s nothing happened in the first while. The cow just look calmly and maybe took a few steps forward to see clearly. And the people there looked a little shocked about what they expected than happened.

Why they choose exactly a cow. Or do they tried this test with different animals?

What are the benefits of doing this experiences?

Why did they used a large painting?

Are cows at that time act un normally?

Image 2

Image 3