Essentials of Visual Interpretation  book cover
1st Edition

Essentials of Visual Interpretation

ISBN 9780367491284
Published December 30, 2020 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

Essentials of Visual Interpretation explains how to talk and write critically about visual media and to examine how evolving visual environments, media, and technologies affect human selfunderstanding and culture formation.

Lively and accessibly written chapters provide a solid foundation in the tools and ideas of visual meaning, familiarizing readers with a growing, cross-cultural subfield, and preparing them to pursue thoughtful work in a variety of related disciplines. The authors include rich examples and illustrations—ranging from cave paintings to memes, from optical science to visual analytics, from ancient pictographs to smart phones—that engage students with the fascinating complexity of visual interpretation. Each chapter introduces students to key terms and concepts relevant to visual analysis, with ideas for short individual or group exercises to enhance understanding.

The book is ideal as a primer in visual analysis and visual communication for students in courses within communication studies, cultural studies, digital humanities, semiotics, media studies, and visual anthropology.

Online support materials include multimedia activities for students and links to additional resources for students and instructors.

Table of Contents

1. How Is Seeing a Cultural Practice?  

2. Cognition and Vision 

3. Visual History, Visual Culture, Ideology 

4. Photography, Film, and Visual Storytelling  

5. Word, Image, Sound: What Is Multimodality?  

6. Remediation and Intertextuality 

7. Visual Persuasion and Political Life 

8. Visual Encoding and Decoding in the Early 21st Century 

9. Vision, Technology, and the Future

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Rachel R. Reynolds is Associate Professor of Communication and Graduate Faculty in Communication, Culture & Media at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She researches discourse and semiotics of race, immigration, and gender.

Greg Niedt is an Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia. Greg’s research focuses on how discourses of cultural, gender, and linguistic diversity are represented in the urban landscape.


“This slim but substantial volume is a joy to read and strikes a good balance between rigor and accessibility.” -- Dolores Flamiano, James Madison University, USA