Visual Literacy: Image, Mind, and Reality

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9780813319377: Visual Literacy: Image, Mind, and Reality

Post-industrial humankind is inundated daily with visual images. Televisions transmit their blue haze into dark living rooms; advertisements and billboards bombard us at every turn; movies evoke tears, outrage, or hilarity; and the visual arts elicit strong emotional or intellectual responses. At almost every moment, several visual images are warring for our attention in order to make a claim, sell a product, or call us to action. Faced with visual overload, how do we interpret these images? What is happening when a picture moves us? What process takes place in our minds as we respond to such visual devices as close-ups, camera angles, and flashbacks?This book provides a foundation for answering these questions. Encouraging his readers to become “visually literate,” Paul Messaris takes them on a journey through four major conceptual levels of understanding: imparting visual literacy as a prerequisite for comprehending visual media; creating awareness of the general cognitive consequences of visual literacy; making us alert to visual manipulation; and promoting aesthetic appreciation of the images we see. Taken together, these approaches provide a comprehensive view of how visual images are produced and interpreted, and of what their potential social consequences may be.

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About the Author:

Paul Messaris is associate professor of communication at The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He has conducted research on viewers' awareness of visual manipulation in movies and advertising, and on parent-child discussions about television. He has also taught 16mm film production.

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