Reading the Visual

Reading the Visual

Jen Webb, Tony Schirato

Language: English

Pages: 221

ISBN: 2:00283022

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


An engaging guide to the skills needed to analyse images of all kinds, and a lucid introduction to the emerging field of visual culture.

From the body to the ever-present lens, the world is increasingly preoccupied with the visual. What exactly is the visual’ and how can we interpret the multitude of images that bombard us every day?

Reading the Visual takes as its starting point a tacit familiarity with the visual, and shows how we see even ordinary objects through the frameworks and filters of culture and personal experience. It explains how to analyse the mechanisms, conventions, contexts and uses of the visual in western cultures to make sense of visual objects of all kinds.

Drawing on a range of theorists including John Berger, Foucault, Bourdieu and Crary, the authors outline our relationship to the visual, tracing changes to literacies, genres and pleasures affecting ways of seeing from the Enlightenment to the advent of virtual technology.

Reading the Visual is an introduction to visual culture for readers across the humanities and social sciences.

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51 Reading the Visual Pages Reading the Visual Pages 6/1/05 11:37 AM Page 52 52 visual technologies player through the story and action of the game. The Age of Emperors series, for example, manages several types of perspective, and demands sophisticated visual ability of its readers/ users. Much of the matter on screen has a simple two-dimensional perspective: it is just iconography or text, printed on the screen as it might have been printed on paper—the player’s score in the bottom

talk about spirituality or any of that nonsense with respect to one of the Indigenous Australian artworks he was discussing’. Spirituality is, of course, not part of contemporary Western art’s logic: autonomous producers work for art’s sake, and not for tradition or religion. But Mane-Wheoki rejects this imperative, responding: ‘If that is the attitude of Western scholars to our sacred treasures, why would we wish to continue to engage with Western scholarship?’ (Mane-Wheoki 1996: 35). His

which turn ‘flocks, serving girls, and inns’ into ‘castles, ladies and armies’ (1973: 47). When Quixote is confronted by the unreality of these resemblances, he resorts to the notion of magic as an explanation: an evil sorcerer must have intervened and cast a spell that changed things. But modern science offers a completely different explanation: there is no magic, only ‘idols’ (Foucault 1973: 51). The belief in idols and magic will be replaced by scientific rationalism: from the seventeenth

activities, and touching or positioning them in ways normally associated with sexual intimacy. Yet these practices are (viewed as being) desexualised because of a number of factors: what the practitioner is wearing (fully dressed, in formal clothes or a medical-style coat); the discourse and mode of address (references to disease or symptoms, questions delivered in a disinterested manner); and the tenor of the relationship (the practitioner will at least appear to be unexcited, in control,

photographer/readers—constitute a text-as-story about happy, innocent, friendly, unthreatening and assimilated Muslims. This photograph, quite clearly, is an attempt to ‘show something different’—that is, to present a more sympathetic view of Islamic people and their culture. The children are all ‘humanised’ by the close-up shot of them smiling—something that was absent from the media coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, the signs of difference that would usually serve to

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