The beginning: Visual Literacy

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Society is inundated with images every day.

In modern society, we are inundated, literally bombarded with photographs every day, but few of us really understand the language of photography.

As a culture, we tend to look at photographs casually, not critically. We study literature and all kinds of writing and learn how to critique words and authors, striving to understand their methods and their intent. We do the same with classic art — painting, sculpture, etc. However, we rarely approach modern visual mediums with the same critical eye. The internet has run amok with trite photographs and third-rate videos, yet we are still fascinated to see the world for ourselves through the eyes of others, regardless of the quality. The lines have become increasingly burred between journalism and self-expression. How do we make sense of it all?

As more and more of the information we take in about the world comes to us through images, the concept of Visual Literacy becomes more and more important. Visual literacy enables people to navigate images, make sense of them, understand their messages, and make informed decisions about life — economically, politically, ethically, and spiritually.

The keys to visual literacy are:

  1. Knowing the abilities, strengths and weakness of particular visual mediums to communicate, and
  2. Understanding the process of using visual mediums to communicate.

The focus of this course is to become literate in the language and process of using still photographs to communicate.

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