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Analysing Visual Language

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Analysing Visual Language. Why learn how to analyse visual language?. The VCAA English Study Design says so: ‘ analysis of ways in which language and visual features are used to present a point of view and to persuade readers’ It will be on Year 12 exam It is an important life skill. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Analysing Visual Language

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Why learn how to analyse visual language?

The VCAA English Study Design says so:‘analysis of ways in which language and visual features are used to present a point of view and to persuade readers’ It will be on Year 12 examIt is an important life skill.

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“A picture is worth one thousand words”Adage

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OMG! Do I have to write one thousand words about a picture?

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NO Way!

You have to analyse the visual ALONG with the written or spoken language.

The visual may support the written/spoken language

ORThe visual may oppose the written/spoken


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How significant the visual dictates how much of your essay will be

spent analysing the visual.

ExampleThe 2012 exam featured a speech and TWO of the speaker’s Power Point slides.

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How do visuals influence and persuade?

Images can SUPPORT a contention

• Images can illustrate a contention• Images can elicit feelings and emotions• Images can inform• Images can attack

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Forms of Visual Language

• Photo• Picture/Drawing• Cartoon• Caricature• Graphic• Symbol

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Photos can be staged OR real

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Photos can make us view a person differently

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Camera angle is important

Close Up

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Wide Angle

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Low Angle

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Pictures and Drawings

Courtroom artist’s impressions can let us see what the cameras can’t.

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Cliché pictures

Some pictures are used so often we know what the article will be about and what kind of response is desired.

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Graphics can inform and influence

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Cartoons can attack, mock, expose ….

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Caricatures exaggerate aspects of a person’s physical and personal features

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• Recognisable• Evoke feelings• Have connotations• Can be held very dear

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The full body photo of a soldier in combat fatigues on a city street supports the editorial’s contention that terrorists are making our city unsafe. The soldier is shown armed with an assault rifle which is intended to instil fear and alarm into the viewer as it means we need that level of protection, thus positioning the viewer to accept the contention.

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Illustrating the opinion piece with a photo of an injured koala is another use of the emotional appeals as employed in the written language. Harold Forest is appealing to our desire to care for and treasure our environment. The koala is an iconic Australian animal. By using a photo of a cute baby one the power of that icon is heightened with the intention of influencing the viewer to agree with Forest’s contention that bushfires are a man made tragedy.

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The presenter includes a picture of a sick baby in hospital to make an emotional appeal intended to position the viewing audience to donate to the hospital’s fundraiser. The baby is smiling, indicating she is happy and cared for. The image appeals to our love of babies. The intention is to pull the heartstrings in order to persuade us to donate. The viewer cannot resist a cute baby so we are influenced to donate to ensure the hospital will make more sick babies well.

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Identify contention

Identify types of arguments

Explain tone and why used. Does tone change?

Identify persuasive techniques and quote examples


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• Explain how the text positions the audience.• Pay attention to Background Information• Analyse visuals not just describe• Don’t ignore obvious or repeatedly used

techniques.• Comment on success of the texts NOT which is

best.• Don't give your own opinion.

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Overall advice

• Analyse the texts Holistically not paragraph by paragraph.

StructureOverall: Introduction – Analsye texts – Compare/Contrast texts – ConclusionParagraphs: identify argument – identify technique – give example – explain intended effectVisuals: can be analysed along with the text [supporting contention or argument of written text] OR as a stand alone paragraph [opposing the written]