The Danger of Images by Codey Herrera

We live in a world where pictures are ubiquitous. We see images everyday. Advertisements always use them, as images can say more than words at first sight, and advertising  is everywhere. The problem with images is that they mean something different to everyone. An image of a tree, translated through a billion different filters, has a billion different meanings. So when we use images to tell stories, we are hoping that our audience interprets them the way we intended to convey them, and that is a very rare occurrence in my experience. Our perception is made up of our individual experiences and the experiences before those experiences that shaped the way we experienced that experience. Needless to say, even people who have very similar experiences or upbringings have drastically different perspectives of the world. This idea of individual perception or cognition can lead to major failures of communication, even with something as precise as oral communication, as we all often have miscommunications with people, and here lies the problem with story telling through images: we never know what that image will convey to that particular person. In some situations that can actually be a very powerful tool, but in other situations a very dangerous one. I believe in precision of language because I believe that communicating effectively means communicating ideas correctly with little to no ambiguity. Images, unfortunately, are very hard to make unambiguous, and very hard to make precise.

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2 thoughts on “The Danger of Images by Codey Herrera

  1. meaganmthornton February 26, 2015 / 11:17 pm

    Codey, I agree that people will always interpret visuals differently depending on their own personal experiences and therefore that makes it difficult to be literal when telling a story with images. However there is something called the Kuleshov Effect or montage effect, when a sequence of images will manipulate the perception a person has, based on their relationship to one another in sequence. This is an interesting way for the creators of these stories to get around the ambiguity that might surround the use of just a single image. ~ Noah Bailey

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  2. meaganmthornton February 28, 2015 / 1:07 am

    I agree that images can be dangerous because you can’t quite control how various individuals will perceive it but that is also a double edged sword. Just as you can’t control if an individual will foster dangerous thoughts because of a visual, you can’t control how an individual may be inspired or touched by the visual. Inspired, they could create art, take action and start a grassroots movement, spread the word about it and make others conscious of the idea behind the visual, and many other things. This is the reason why visuals are powerful. They have the ability to strike people deep and push them to take up a pen, a brush, a guitar, a cigarette, and even a gun. It is because it is powerful that we need to train ourselves to use it properly so that we can make an impact in the right way.
    -Becky Lin

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