Part of tonight’s class discussion related to the topics in visual rhetoric that we would like to explore for the rest of the semester. Some ideas that were brought up were images in the news, television advertisements, art, sculpture, comics, and virtually any with images. Other ideas my classmates are exploring include movie trailers, book covers, internet advertisements, and memes. I think these are all relevant and interesting choices. I found myself thinking more and more about what kinds of images I am moved by. What do I regularly reblog on my Tumblr? What do I enjoy looking at?
While I clearly enjoy images related to fantasy, including tree houses, castles, paintings, and surrealism, I am also enthralled by the beauty of the natural world. For this semester, I would like to explore photography of the natural world including landscapes, animals, microorganisms, the human body, and pictures of space. My only worry is that these images do not contain strong rhetorical statements, or if they do, I have trouble detecting it. Usually I am left in awe, without many words to describe the feelings rendered from the photograph. There are, however, images of the natural world in destruction and devastation, and these usually present a much clearer rhetoric: Stop destroying the planet. Still, that doesn’t leave me with much to analyze. Dr. Wolff stated in class that we are presenting the images rather than researching them, so perhaps I don’t need to fully understand the meaning behind the picture. I can just describe it and talk about associations that arise. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:
Both of these images demonstrate the beauty of the natural world. However, they also present an element of the unknown, which can often be interpreted as fear. Nature does not always act in a way that is conducive to human safety, and I think that is part of the reason I am so attracted to it. There have been several instances in my life where I confronted fear of the unknown in the natural world: jumping off a cliff into the Colorado River, swimming in an underwater river in Mexico, or hiking down a mountain by myself in the Rockies. Furthermore, my parents always instilled the values of respect and appreciation for nature–our family vacations often revolved around the outdoors. I think is the reason I find myself both at home and in awe of nature. Because I have seen very little of the world, I think focusing on photography of the natural world will allow me to learn about places I would like to visit.
Aside from discussing our topics, we also drew maps of Rowan University’s campus, New Jersey, the United States, and the world, all from memory. Besides learning that we are not cartographers, we also learned that maps are socially constructed, and therefore have some kind of bias depending on the drawer’s knowledge of the world. I am interested to see how this will effect the mapping projects we are now working on. Expect to see some posts about the mapping projects soon.