Monday, September 30, 2013

Kress & VanLeeuwen, "Reading Images"

I had trouble reading this article. It was a combination of the confusing page order, the references without pictures, and the industry terms that were difficult to understand in context. Nevertheless, I tried.

What a Great Coincidence!

Kress and VanLeeuwen discuss the placement of image in magazines, and their "reading path." This reminds me of reading magazines when I was younger (going back to GL, yes) and thinking it was such a grand coincidence that ads were so wonderfully placed. For example, if I was reading an article on how to get the perfect summer glow, on the adjacent page would be an ad for self-tanner. As an uninformed, unicorn-loving child I definitely thought this was pure chance, and certainly never consider that it was part of a great scheme developed in the marketing department of a huge company. Obviously, I have become more aware that pretty much everything orchestrated.

Kind of...

When Facebook first started directing ads at me, I still may have thought that it was a coincidence. Advertising Taylor Swift merchandise? How do they know?! Although I didn't understand at first, I realized they were tracking my activity and targeting me much quicker than when I was a GL-reading girl. Promise.

Let's Try!

Since I have almost no idea what the article is talking about, I thought I'd try to analyze a picture based on what I did get from the article. Below is an interesting image I found online and an attempt at an analysis.

Disclaimer: This could be completely wrong.

Although I'm not sure of the information value of the image, I do know that the size and placement of the woman and elephants are salient. Additionally, the framing does not appear to separate the women from the animals; if anything they seem made to appear more similar than anything else. Do you believe that the image is made to represent the similarity between man and animal, or for another purpose?
In the center of the picture is obviously the woman, although she is clearly smaller than the two other objects (the elephants). The elephants are aligned left and right.
Something that we should also consider, but may not have the answer to, is the purpose of this image. It seems to be purely for artistic purposes, and I find it pretty intriguing. Not only is the model posed, but so are the elephants, which is pretty unusual (and pretty difficult I can imagine). The stark contrast between the woman's white gown and the elephant's dark skin helps for her to be the focus of the image. However, her lines mimic those of the elephants, as does her pose. To me, this makes the image more interesting--the similarity occurring simultaneously with the contrast.

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