What is Visual Literacy?
Like all literacy, visual literacy involves the ability to communicate. People who are visually literate understand that when it comes to images, what you see isn't necessarily accurate. Just as speakers and authors of language can influence an audience through careful word selection and composition, a creator of images can communicate and manipulate meanings through a variety of techniques. Understanding these techniques builds out productive toolbox and arms us, as information seekers, to question what we see.
Powerful Statistics as Art (TED Talk)
Artist Chris Jordan shows us an astonishing view of American consumerism using supersized imagery of some almost unimaginable statistics. If you doubt that pictures send a message, this is a MUST SEE!
The Noun Project
"The Noun Project is a platform empowering the community to build a global visual language that everyone can understand. Visual communication is incredibly powerful. Symbols have the ability to transcend cultural and language barriers and deliver concise information effortlessly and instantaneously. For the first time, this image-based system of communication is being combined with technology to create a social language that unites the world."
This project is an excellent example of how powerful shared visuals are as communication tools.
As an audience...
Reading an image involves more than simply looking at it. Even in the case of "untouched" photographs, image creators use a variety of techniques to draw our attention and influence our perceptions. Learning to analyze both the content and decipher the author's intent takes practice. When you see the magnifying glass, stop to consider what you see AND what the creator wants you to see.
As an author...
In the act of image creation...organizing various visual elements within the frame...we act as authors. Deliberate composition of these elements will enhance and even ensure that our message is clear. The "art" of composition...our own style...is displayed when we are able to balance this deliberate process in a way that is natural, rather than forced. Look for the camera icon above for tip and techniques that will improve your own image authorship.
HUHS Librarian, 2007-2014