Propaganda still exists

We’ve been taught since we were kids the effects that propaganda has had on our society in history, but as we get older and live through the so called “propaganda”, it becomes harder and harder to decipher the difference between propaganda and persuasion. According to Lester in Visual Communication, “Persuasion uses factual information and emotional appeals to change a person’s mind and to promote a desired behavior” while “propaganda uses
one-sided and often nonfactual information or opinions that appear to be facts, along with emotional appeals, to change a person’s mind and promote a desired behavior” (2013, 79). It’s inevitable in communication to use persuasion and even propaganda sometimes when trying to convince someone or change their perspective.

tlc0090The famous ‘I want you’ poster is a classic example of propaganda in our society. This poster is meant to convince citizens to act and join the Army; they are meant to feel wanted. But I think that we tend to miss the modern forms of propaganda.

977For this reason, the Media Education Lab created a website that is meant to analyze contemporary propaganda.  For example on this page, there is a picture of “Possible Futures” our country can have dependent on who is elected president. This picture is from an anti-Trump Facebook page. The picture is clearly engaged on only one side of the Presidential election with the agenda clearly shown. This type of propaganda concerns me because it takes advantage of uneducated potential voters and doesn’t allow them to form opinions of their own.

Lester, Paul Martin (2013-01-01). Visual Communication: Images with Messages (Page 79). Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.

Analog TVs are so ‘last year’

Analog TV
Analog TV

TVs have come a long way even since I was born. The kids of this generation will never know  a TV to be thicker than their finger or understand what a “salt and pepper” channel is.

HDTV
HDTV

They are blessed with large flat screens with resolutions so clear it’s scary. The thought of having anything but a High Definition digital television (HDTV) probably sounds foreign to them. This technological advancement is ten times the picture resolution obtained by traditional analog television broadcasts. According to CNET, analog TVs broadcasts stopped in 2009 further confirming that kids nowadays will never understand how it feels not to have an HDTV. I think that’s something we take for granted.

The difference that a little color makes

It’s hard to imagine a day where movies weren’t in color. Nowadays, watching movies feels realistic. When I watch a movie, I develop an emotional connection to the characters and the plot. I tend to feel as though I am in the movie myself or that the characters are real. Before color movies were released in 1918, I couldn’t imagine how viewers connected to the films. Thankfully, in 1932, Technicolor was invented creating a more advanced three-color process that gave people the acceptance of color and became very popular.

Wizard of OZ (1939) in Technicolor
Wizard of OZ (1939) in Technicolor

Since we don’t use Technicolor anymore, it’s hard to value the process like they did back in the day because we don’t see the difference in the films. According to Roger Ebert in his article, “Technicolor ‘Oz’ will blow you away, Technicolor isn’t appreciated the way it should be. Wizard of Oz was the first full length film to incorporate this three-color process and blew viewers away when they saw it in theaters. Hearing things like this give me the desire to see it in its original form as well. I only wonder if the unrealistic bright look of Technicolor will take away from how emotionally connected I get to movies.

 

The issues of picture manipulation

In today’s media, the discussion of picture manipulations is at an all time high. It seems that the issues of photographers manipulating images to fit certain needs and desires is only now a problem, however this issue has been around since photography was invented and brought to the public’s eye since at least 1839.

Picture manipulation is extremely controversial as people argue what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. In an article by Jerry Lodriguss, The Ethics of Digital Manipulation, Lodriguss discusses how purpose plays a part in whether the manipulation is ethical or not. He says, “If your purpose is to portray a scene as truthful, then it’s not OK. If your purpose was to create fiction, or “art”, then it is OK”. It is most important to always be transparent because people want to believe what they see and not feel misled or taken advantage; they don’t want to be fooled.

Zendaya's reaction to picture manipulation
Zendaya’s reaction to picture manipulation

Today’s society is most familiar with this controversy when discussing Photoshop. It has gotten to a point where photographers change the look of people so much that they don’t even look like the same person. Someone should never have to look at a picture of themselves and see a stranger. Unfortunately, that is something that has been in the media lately. Recently, model Zendaya expresses her opinion on picture manipulation. This is definitely one concept of photography that I hope continues to be spoken up about until it is resolved.

The role of comic strips in our society

Nowadays media and news has moved online and newspapers are dying off. Luckily for newspapers, they have comic strips to hold the public’s interest. Comic strips have been used in newspapers for decades to provide a creative way to acknowledge current events, voice opinions, and entertain readers while keeping them up to date with the news.

Evolution of comics in newspapers on a comic strip
Evolution of comics in newspapers on a comic strip

For instance, this comic strip addresses the issue of the size of comic strips in newspapers. Comic strips make readers think about the opinions said and issues in our society. Since comic strips have always been such a huge part of the act of reading a newspaper, why are the strips getting smaller? Sure the comic strip is dramatic, but it proves a point. Comic strips have impacted all of us from when we were younger. For many, it was the first thing they would look at when reading the paper. When i was little, we would use silly putty to play with the comics.

Peanuts comic strip
Peanuts comic strip

It’s easy to forget how comic strips have played a part in our culture. An article titled, “Welcome back Charlie Brown! Beloved Peanuts comic strip is being turned into a regular TV series for kids’ channel Boomerang” by Heidi Parker, reminds us that the well known Charlie Brown holiday specials are thanks to the Peanut comic strips. These comic strips have been so impactful in our culture that another TV series will be aired from it, even over 65 years later.

 

We use charts to communicate

When you think of informational graphics such as charts, your mind usually goes to math, projects, and data. According to Lester in Visual Communication: Images with Messages, “Charts (graphs) were invented to display numerical information concisely and comprehensibly and to show trends visually” (2013, 224). Charts are helpful to show information in a way that can be easily understood by readers.

Political Chart
Political Chart

You can find charts in the media to help views understand facts and quickly keep up to date with current events. For instance, during the presidential elections the media will use charts to present polls and statistics for the public to see. These charts are an underrated use of visual communication; however they are very helpful at communicating information.

Lester, Paul Martin (2013-01-01). Visual Communication: Images with Messages (Page 224). Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.

Sans Serif takes the cake

If typography was a stereotypical high school, Sans Serif would be a popular group, let’s say ‘The Jocks’.

Sans Serif has been around since 1832, however it wasn’t until recent years that this typeface became popular. Sans Serif is sought after to create a simplistic and modern type when looking for a typeface to use. In today’s day in age, minimalism is a ‘major key’. Sans Serif engages in this minimalist ideal because it doesn’t have an serifs. By trimming away the excess, Sans Serif leaves just the basic letter which can be seen as block letters and is usually easier to read.

Sans Serif on Highway sign
Sans Serif on Highway sign

Because of how easy it is to read Sans Serif, you will find Sans Serif everywhere from movie titles, company names, to road signs. When you think of typography, you tend to focus on how it plays a role in the media. I think that it is just as important to focus on how it plays a role in our day-to-day lives. Like I said before, Sans Serif is an extremely easy font style to read. That is why when you are driving on the road, every sign you see is written in Sans Serif. Without the serifs, the words are easier to read in a large font and from a far distance. I find it interesting that something that is used in the media to be attractive is also used to create a safe environment when driving.

 

Why Does Society Emphasize Women Stereotypes More Than Men?

Chapter 5 focuses on visual stereotypes in society. First and foremost, I found it interesting that they didn’t specifically discuss “white stereotypes” or “male stereotypes”. Instead, they focused on African American, Arab, Asian, Latino, Women, LGBT, and Native American stereotypes. Naturally being a woman, the discussion of women stereotypes was most intriguing to me.

Women stereotypes are no secret. Our book talks about how “men in almost every culture in the world and throughout the history of social interaction have thought that they are the dominant and more important gender” (Lester, 2014, 113). Lester goes on to say that “such patterns have thought to have led to prejudice and pervasive discrimination against women (2014, 113-114). What stood out to me the most was how Lester expressed advertising as the place when inequality between men and women is most prevalent. I find this true when I think about how I have seen how ads have put down women, focused on their benefits sexually, demonstrated a “picture perfect” and “acceptable standard” that women should look like and act like, and made women seem inferior to women. However, I do have to argue with this opinion. I can think on multiple accounts how the ads have made men out to be sexual objects as well. Not only are women emphasized for their “sex-ability”, but men are as well.

fea-hunk-05-2013

For instance, take this Kraft “Zest Italian Campaign” ad. Sure you could jump on this ad saying that this is to get women’s attention. That women are still being seen as inferior to women because they won’t be able to say no to men. But what about how this man is technically being placed as a sexual object? Wikipedia defines sexual objectification as “Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person as an instrument of sexual pleasure. Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object without regard to their personality or dignity” (2016). After reading that definition, can you honestly say that this man has not been sexually objectified? He was placed without little clothing in order for the pleasure of those who could be attracted to him, with the goal of selling more salad dressing.

Let’s go even further to say that this man is meant to give an impression of how other men should look. This ad, like many others, is setting a standard of what should be “socially acceptable” for a man to look like. Not only to say this man has been sexually objectified for women and/or men, but he also has now made other men and boys look at him with the desire to be just like him. Now they will think have to look like this to feel accepted and wanted by a woman and/or man when they undress.

So my point to Lester and society is, Aren’t there stereotypes for every demographic out there? Sure women have stereotypes and are separated, thrown prejudice, and discriminated against by society. But if you look hard enough you’ll find that you can say the same about men and even “whites”.  I think the point is to stop separating demographics. There will never be equality when we keep picking and highlighting differences. No one will heal that way.

References:

Lester, P. M. (2014). Visual communication: Images with messages (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Wikipedia. (2016, February 18). Sexual Objectification. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_objectification

Signs and Semiotics

In the third chapter, Lester the study of signs, or semiotics, and the importance of these signs in visual communication. He explains that signs represent something else and that there is a bigger meaning than the sign itself. You have to view it in context. Therefore, Lester goes on to explain how going off of “the more you know, the more you see” theory, you should choose a sign that more people will understand in order to make a bigger impact.

ladybug

This ladybug is a sign to the sisters of ASA. While nonmembers or people who aren’t familiar with ASA won’t think of ASA when they see a ladybug. However, when I or one of my sisters or a friend of ours sees a ladybug anywhere, we will think of ASA. When I see this simple image of a ladybug on a flower, I don’t think of the insect. I think of my sisters and what ASA means to me as well as the memories I’ve made. To me, a ladybug doesn’t stand for a bug, it stands for my sisters.

Perception and the Eight Depth Cues

In the second chapter, Lester discusses how we see things based on our eye and brain properties. This combination leads us to perception and the how there are “eight possible factors used singly or in combination that give viewers a sense of depth: space, size, color, lighting, textural gradients, interposition, time, and perspective” (p. 39). Space has to do with where an object is located, size has to do with this actual size, color and lighting correlates with depth, textural gradients helps with depth and the scene, interposition to create a 3-D effect, time also relates to depth with the element in the image, and perspective also relates to depth in a more complicated way.

For an example, below is a photo that correlates with depth perception.

858b0b8856e00021477c51a18a8a0915

I found this photo on Google. It’s a classic picture of depth perception. The picture is obviously showing a family at the beach.

Depth perception comes into play here because the photographer has taken a sand bucket that is much smaller than the people in the photo and made it appear much bigger. Through the use of space, by putting the bucket close up to the camera, he has made the location of the bucket appear to be trying to consume the people. This gives viewers one perspective. Even though their brains tell them that the bucket is smaller, their eyes see that it looks like it’s much bigger instead. This different factors work together with the brain and eyes.