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Visual Literacy

Terms for analysis

Salience

Salience refers
to the feature in
a composition
that most grabs
your attention.

An image can be made salient


through:

Placement: usually an image becomes


heavier if placed towards the top or left.
Colour
Size
Focus
Distance
A combination of these things.

What is most salient?

What part of this


image is most
salient?
Why is it most
salient?

Reading paths

A reading path is the path you take


through a visual text. The path moves
from the most salient to the least salient
elements.

Describing the reading path.

In this
image, what
path/s
does/do
your eyes
follow?

What is the reading path


here?

Vectors

A vector is a line that leads your eye


from one element to another.
A vector may be a visible line or an
invisible one.
It can be created by such things as a
gaze, pointing fingers or extended
arms.

Explain how vectors


work in the following
images.

The Last Supper

Compositional axis
The vertical
axis:

The horizontal
axis:

The left, is known


or given;

The right is new or


unknown.

The upper section is


ideal;
The lower elements
are real.

Does the theory work?

The centre

Images here are the nucleus


information.
The margin images are subservient.

Framing

Elements in a layout can be


disconnected and marked off from each
other or connected. If elements are cut
off from one another they are strongly
framed.

Framing.

Framing can be achieved by borders,


discontinuities of colour and shape, or
by white space.
Connectedness can be achieved by
vectors and devices such as
overlapping or superimposition of
images.

Gaze

Demands and offers.


Demand: subject looks out of the image
at the responder.
This establishes a connection between
subject and viewer.

Gaze
Offer: The figure looks
away.
The viewer is a detached
onlooker.

Subjective and objective


viewpoints

The viewpoints come from


the vertical and horizontal
angles.

Subjective viewpoints encourage the


viewer to adopt a certain stance

A high angle
gives the viewer
a sense of
power

Subjective images continued

A low angle
makes the
viewer feel
powerless

Subjective images.

A straight on
eye level view
creates no
power
difference.

Objective images

The viewer is not drawn into


involvement with the image. Meaning
comes from the symbolic connection
made by the reader.

Social Distance.

A close up is
intimate
A medium shot is
close
A whole figure
framed is close.
A long shot is far
social distance

Lighting and Colour

Lighting creates mood


-Shadows may suggest concealment or
fear and despair
-Light, hope and inspiration.
-Soft light, romance.
Colour can be symbolic

How is mood created here?

What effect does colour have


here?

What is the effect of the use of


light?

How is light used here?

Modality/credibility

Lowest modality
graphics are the
least real.
Highest modality is
most real.

Influences on modality

Idealisation: the
image is better than
real.
Decontextualisation:
Components are
removed from the
expected context
and used elsewhere.

Influences on modality cont.

Modality can be
affected by
tricks with
perspective.

The End