Images on wall

Images are visual Rhetoric

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Have you ever heard that a picture/image can say more than a thousand words? An image is rhetorical because it induces the audience to feel something based on what they’re seeing. In Eyman’s article, visual rhetoric is emphasized. The article references Roland Barthes. Barthes asserts that images function both connotatively and denotatively and that the connotative signifiers form rhetoric that serves as the signifying aspect of ideology (Eyman). Images fall under the category of visual rhetoric. Images are connotative because they appeal to the audience’s feelings. Visuals automatically expand the imagination of people. Have you ever looked at a picture/image and wondered for what purpose it was made? Did you admire the colors? Was there a subliminal message without you even knowing?

Ever asked yourself, “What type of drugs was the artist on?” Or perhaps, how did the artist come up with that talent? An image doesn’t necessarily have to be painted, it can also be designed in a computer or a real-life picture. Why do you think advertising uses key images using pathos? For example, a shelter for puppies commercial. The commercial not only does it involve people talking about why you should adopt a dog. This commercial will show you the puppies’ sad faces staring with their adorable eyes into the camera. They will show you the smallest and cutest puppies for the audience to adopt. People automatically are emotionally touched by these small creatures.

Another example is the propaganda to stop smoking. These commercials will show former smokers who now have a tracheostomy. A tracheostomy is a surgically induced hole in the trachea for ex-smokers to survive. This hole is what keeps people alive. I remember seeing these commercials as a kid and getting traumatized. Who would want to smoke after knowing the risks?

This image is TMI I know

This image may be too TMI, but the way it’s visual rhetoric is by warning people to stop smoking. The audience sees this picture and is persuaded to never smoke because of the graphic view of this physical wound. The effects of what is on the image provoke people to double-think about smoking. Smoking may seem like a stress reliever or keep warm, but there are many reasons why people do it. Many don’t realize the health issues it can cause. If the doctor’s warning doesn’t concern people, a real-life picture will. When it comes down to it, an image will always say more than a thousand words. Visuals are rhetoric because they are connotative and denotative. Images connect ideas and feelings.


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