By James A. W. Heffernan

Although English has no be aware for the visible counterpart to literacy, Heffernan argues that the skill to interpret photographs has to be cultivated and merits a reputation: picturacy. utilizing examples reminiscent of the pre-historic cave work of Lascaux, movie models of Frankenstein, the provocative images of Sally Mann, and the summary canvases of Gerhard Richter, the quantity illustrates how studying to decode the language of images resembles the method of studying to learn. whereas phrases often body and control our adventure of paintings, the learn additionally explains how photographs can contest the authority of the phrases we use to interpret artwork.

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1). He might be sprawled there in sheer exhaustion; he might be posing for some reason (this could be a movie still); or he might be dead. But even supposing him dead, we can only guess how he died—heart attack, knife in the back, accidental wound from his own rifle, bullet from someone else’s rifle—and we have no idea where. 1 Alexander Gardner, Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, July 1863. 13 What the caption did not say is that the photographer had earlier snapped the same corpse in a different place and from a different angle and identified it as a Union soldier.

The largest question raised by this and any other picture worth looking at is not what to say about it, but how far—or whether—we can speak for it at all. That is the question I pursue in the next chapter. ” This statement comes to us from one Frederick R. Barnard, and since he made it in an advertisement that appeared in a periodical called Printer’s Ink in 1927, I venture to infer that he meant it unambiguously as a statement of fact about mass communication. A picture, he clearly implies, can take the place of ten thousand words, can say at once to the viewer everything that forty pages of text—or forty columns of newsprint—can arduously articulate for the reader.

E. Among other things, the Lascaux paintings represent what are generally acknowledged to be a variety of animals: a bison, horses, stags, and a bull. These pictures come to us without words (writing did not come along until about 6000 years later) and without any contextual information; we have no other access to the culture that produced these pictures, or to the graphic conventions on which they depend. Yet we can recognize what these pictures represent. 20 What can explain it? A possible answer comes to us from E.

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