Chapter Twelve: Writing about Art and Advertising While we talk a great deal about writing in this book, much of the communication that surrounds us is visual. There is a long tradition of analyzing paintings and scultpures to discover the ways they create meaning and appeal to our emotions. More recently, scholars have begun applying similar analyses to images from advertising and other sources of popular media. Like literature, both art and images represent artifacts that express ideas and reflect aspects of culture. As with other forms of expression, we can understand these images by learning to recognize some of their components. We can begin by considering the media (or materials) that are used for a work. We can then explore how shape, texture, colors, patterns, and numerous other elements of art (and visual images) combine to create meaning. We can also look at how the subject matter of art and the content of visual compositions represent themes and imagery that appeal to our both our sense and intellect. And, we can ask questions about how these cultural artifacts relate to the contexts in which they are produced and received. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 2 Be sure to explore the many works of art and examples from advertising on our CD as you consider the discussion in this chapter. EXPLORING THE ELEMENTS OF ART Drawings, sculpture, photographs, and paintings all depend on specific materials for their creation. Materials such as oil paints, charcoal pencils, photo-chemicals, and stone represent some of the media used to create works of art. Materials determine some of the techniques artists will use—a photograph might manipulate lighting and color, while an etching might emphasize shapes and lines. In contemporary culture, we often refer to media as the means used to transmit images—television or magazines represents media of transmission for images that might be photographic. Drawings, photographs, and paintings share a number of qualities that contribute to their messages and visual appeal. Lines and shapes combine to create the main subjects in an image. Color and light (We’ll look at photography in a moment.) Recognizing Lines, Shapes, and Textures Rather than the straight marks between point A and point B we might associate with a line drawn using a ruler, in visual images, lines represent any kind of significant mark that is used to create the composition of the image. In practice, lines more accurately reproduce the edges and markings we might find in the natural world. Lines can be curved, or interrupted. They will take both horizontal and vertical directions, and they can be combined to create patterns and textures. Lines also help create shapes within an image. Consider “The White Cat” by Pierre Bonnard on page 000. Notice how lines are used to create the space and perspective of the table on which the cat sits. Consider how the thickness and curves suggest the weight of the cat (compare a whisker with the cat’s bottom). Some lines are interrupted and others are disconnected with the body of the cat. These lines created with pen and ink use thickness, interruption and curves to give shape to the image of the cat. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 3 Contrast The lines in the White Cat with the ways lines work in the The Frugal Repast by Picasso on page 000. Picasso’s piece is an etching made up of numerous lines. As with The White Cat, these lines create shape—look at the fingers of the man and woman or the lines that depict the man’s neck. Additionally, lines are used in the etching to create a sense of texture and shading. Look at how lines create differences in texture between the shaded areas of the wall in the background. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 4 Texture need not apply only to painted or drawn works, however. Contrast the texture of Rodin’s statue The Thinker that appears at the opening of this chapter with Michelangelo’s Pieta printed below. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 5 Michelangelo Pieta Understanding Color and Light Color and light contribute to the mood of a visual image and create focal points that draw our eyes to aspects of an image. Colors in images are selected based on their relationships to one another and the combinations of choices form the color palette or scheme for the image. When discussing color we can refer to this scheme or to the characteristics of a particular color. Colors are frequently described in terms of their intensity or warmth NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 6 using adjectives like bright or dark, and warm or cool. (You can see color reproductions of many works of art and learn more about evaluating color on our CD.) Similarly, light can be used to draw our attention to elements of an image and create emphasis (see below) and create a mood. We can discuss the uses of lighting in terms of value (the relative amount of light or darkness present in a color) and contrasts. The greatest contrast in values can be seen in black and white images. However, even a single color can have different values—think of the contrasts that are made when lightly pressing instead of firmly grinding a crayon into paper. We can describe the light value of colors using adjectives that describe intensity or depth like deep, bright, dark, medium, or light. Consider how color and light work in “The Nostalgia of the Infinite” by Giorgio de Chirico (on page 000 in black and white and on our CD in color). The painting uses color to create a sharp contrast between the dark blue background of the sky and the bright beige swatch of dried grass in the middle. The value of the portion of the painting in shadow in the foreground is even darker. The deep dark foreground and the bright light side of the tower create an intense contrast that asks the viewer to consider the relationship between the two spaces. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 7 In photography, light plays a similarly important role. By adjusting the amount of light exposed to the film in the camera and by considering sources of light and how they affect the composition of an image, photographers use light NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 8 to create emphasis, patterns, and contrasts. Edward Weston’s Church Door, Hornitas demonstrates the use of light and the capturing of texture in a photographic image. Edward Weston, Church Door, Hornitas 1940 Exercise 12.1 Exploring Elements of Art Working with a group of fellow students, consider Picasso’s “The Frugal Repast” and “The Nostalgia of the Infinite” by Giorgio de Chirico. Begin by discussing the title of Picasso’s etching. Without thinking about the painting—just concentrate on the theme in the title—write a one sentence explanation of what you believe the title suggests. Next look at the uses of lines and shapes in the etching. What do you find striking about the lines and shapes. How would you describe the meaning that they convey? Write three or more sentences explaining how the lines and shape relate to the title. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 9 Next, look at the textures and lighting in the etching. What effects do the textures and lighting have on you as a viewer? What aspects of the etching do they emphasize. Why do you think the effect they have is significant. Write three or more sentences discussing texture and lighting in the work. Then, move on to de Chirico’s painting. Begin by analyzing the lines and shapes in the painting. What shapes stand out and what do you think they represent? What is significant about the lines? How do these shapes and lines relate to the subjects within the compositon (the tower and the figure)? Write three or more sentences explaining what you believe is represented by Next, consider the uses of light and color in the painting. How do they relate to the shapes and lines? How do they relate to the painting’s subjects? Write three or more sentences discussing light and color in the work. Finally, based on your analysis of the painting consider what you believe to be the painting’s message. Now look at the title for the painting. How does this title relate to your sense of the message? Write a sentence explaining the title in terms of the painting. Understanding the principles of design We can analyze elements of art like lines, shapes, colors and light to illustrate some of the strategies artists use to create images that convey meaning. These principles of design include emphasis, balance, and coherence. To explore how these principles relate to the elements of art, we can begin by considering the role of the viewer of an image. We’ve already looked at how light can be used to draw a viewer’s eye toward particulars in an image to create emphasis. In addition to light, color and arrangement (see below) can create emphasis. Consider how the placement of and spacing between the figures in Gertrude Goodrich’s “Scenes From American Life (The Beach) emphasizes the man sitting in the lower right-hand corner of the painting. Emphasis focuses our attention; it helps us hone in on particulars as we develop an understanding of an image. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 10 Balance refers to the relationships between elements in an image. Often balance applies to the shapes and proportions of an image. Compare Claude Monet’s On the Banks of the Sienne, Bennecourt” on page 000 with Rene Magritte’s “The Human Condition” on page 000. “The Human Condition” displays a symmetrical structure to create a sense of balance. Monet’s painting provides a more asymmetrical balance. Viewers of Monet’s painting may be initially drawn to the figure of the woman wearing stripes. The placement and proportion (he relative size of objects in the image) of the woman make her appear closer and focus our attention on the near shore. Initially, the symmetrical balance in Magritte’s painting might focus our eye on the window that lies between the curtains. However, the painting that has been placed before the window offers a subtle variation on the symmetrical balance of the image. The painted scene pushes the balance of the image forward so that from left to right we see a great deal of symmetry, but there is also a sense of depth from the front to the back of the painting. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 11 Claude Monet “On the Banks of the Sienne, Bennecourt” NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 12 Rene Magritte “The Human Condition” Coherence refers to the unity and logical arrangement of the elements in an image. A sense of coherence can be created through balance and proportion or through aspects of color. In Monet’s “On the Banks of the Sienne, Bennecourt,” the woman in stripes is much larger than the figures on the far bank, but since the sizes reflect the relative distance of the two figures their proportions are coherent. “The Human Condition” surprises expectations by providing a painting of a painting; the effect works because the two images resemble one another so closely in both subject and color. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 13 Interpreting images as compositions Elements like line, shape, light and color give form to the settings, figures, and objects that make up an image. These components comprise the subject matter or composition of the image. The arrangements of the subject matter allow us to discuss the composition and its significance. Consider “People in the Sun,” by Edward Hopper printed on page 000 and in color on our CD. We can look at the figures in the chairs in terms of their placement within the image. By placing the figures below the range of hills and the lone figure of the man reading a book slightly below the other, a sense of distance is created in the image. The figures also demonstrate how arrangement can create patterns and variety in the composition. The figures in the front row all share similar postures. They also alternate between men and women. The man with the book fits but also varies from this pattern. The relationships that are created by the pattern and the subtle variations create motifs (recurring elements) that allow us to discuss possible themes and messages in the image. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 14 The compositions in photography also demonstrate patterns and thematic motifs. With photography, we must overcome the tendency to assume that the camera acts as an objective lens that reproduces reality. Instead, we should consider the choices a photographer makes in selecting or arranging subjects and the implications of those choices. William Eggleston’s Arkansas on page 000 represents a shot that has been selected for not only its visual impact, but also for its emotional appeal. William Eggleston Horse Thinking of images as compositions opens avenues for us to begin to develop interpretations of them. We can bring our critical thinking and literary analysis skills to bear as we conduct readings of images. We might ask about the settings or characters that we discover in a composition. We can consider relationships between elements and draw conclusions about them. Consider the man and woman in Picasso’s “Frugal Repast” or the man reading the book in “People in the Sun”: What are their stories and how can exploring them help us understand the composition of the image. Checklist for Evaluating Art and Images NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 15 Consider the medium of a work of art. Relate the piece to other works that use similar materials. Explore the techniques in the work that are specific to the medium in which it is produced as well as those that cut across media. Note the use of lines and shapes. Examine the quality of lines in a work, looking at their thickness and continuity and the ways they create shapes. Consider how combinations of lines and shapers create shading and texture. Evaluate the uses of light. Consider how light draws the viewer’s eye to particulars in a work. Look at how light creates contrasts and patterns. Examine the significance of color. Consider the qualities of color and how cool, warm, dark, or bright colors affect the mood of a painting. Consider the textures of a work. Think about the impressions created by textures. Examine variations in texture and note the significance of any shifts of textures in a work. Determine where the principles of art can be seen in the work. Notice areas of emphasis. Consider balance and proportion. Consider the levels of coherence in a work. Explore the significance of all of these principles as they are revealed in the piece. Interpret the composition of a work. Examine the figures in a composition and imagine their characteristics and stories. Consider the significance of objects in a work. Ask how the background or setting influences the composition. Explore the possible meanings of imagery and motifs. Search for recurring elements of themes that emerge in a work. Consider the possible symbolism of objects or figures. Determine what you believe to be the most significant messages conveyed by the work. IMAGES FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION (You can view these images in color along with a number of other works on our CD.) NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 16 Sandro Botticelli The Birth of Venus NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 17 Grant Wood “American Gothic” (1930 NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 18 Maricopa Child Edward Curtis Library of Congress NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 19 Allan Rohan Crite “Sunlight and Shadow” 1941 NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 20 George Tooker “The Waiting Room” 1959 NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 21 Edward Weston Rubber Dummy, Metro Goldwyn Mayer WRITING ABOUT ART As with film, music, literature, or other forms of expression, art requires writers to discuss both formal and thematic elements. In addition, art asks writers to think historically, considering the contexts in which works originate and the perspectives of the artists who created them. As you write about works of art you can refer to the elements and principles discusses above to analyze and draw conclusions about what you see. (You can also find more terms and definitions about elements of art on our CD and Web site.) You may be asked to compose a formal analysis of a work of art. Sometimes you may be asked to simply describe in detail the formal elements of a work. In many analyses, however, you will create an argument about how a work of art uses formal elements and principles to create an impression and convey a message. In these assignments, you must read the details, looking at how the formal elements NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 22 represent a significant artistic example or relate to themes and imagery. You might move from larger descriptions of the composition to more detailed discussion of specific elements of art. You might describe the painting from one side to the other. A thesis should guide your formal analysis so that as you analyze the details of an image, you lead your reader toward an important point that you wish to make. You may also write about the social or historical aspects of art. These connections can include key concerns that might have informed the culture in which a piece of art originated or biographical information about an artist that helps us understand her or his work. You might explore how notions of order can be seen in the subjects and artistic elements of Renaissance painting. This kind of exploration is sometimes called a stylistic analysis (meaning it looks at a work in terms of the shared techniques of a type of art such as impressionism). You will likely wish to conduct research to better understand the history and context of a work of art. You might try the Grove Dictionary or Art Online if your library provides it. You can find more art research resources on our Web site. As with other kinds of writing about context, you must apply care in drawing conclusion based simply on historical information. Don’t assume that art automatically reflects its history. Instead, begin with a thesis demonstrating a significant historical or biographical concern and discuss concrete evidence from the work that speaks to that concern. If your instructor asks you to use MLA format when writing about art you should use underlining indicate the title of a work in the body of your paper. In your references provide the name and location of the institution that houses or the individual owner of the piece of art, as in the example below: Crite, Allan Rohan. Sunlight and Shadow. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. Exercise 12.2 Writing a Formal Analysis NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 23 Select a work or art from this chapter or on our CD and compose a formal analysis that demonstrates how the work appeals to your senses and conveys a message. Begin by exploring the work freely to find an approach that will guide your analysis. You might start with your impressions to understand the kinds of appeals the work has to your emotions. You might explore key imagery or themes. Spend as much time as it takes to develop a thesis statement about the meaning of the work. Next, explore the formal elements of the work. Consider how principles of art such as patterns, emphasis, balance, and coherence work to further the message of the work. Examine elements of art such as color, contrast, light, value, texture, shape, and line. Sketch an outline detailing how you can discuss these formal elements in terms of your thesis. Finally, compose a one to two page analysis that states your thesis and discusses in detail how the formal elements of the work convey meaning. Exercise 12.3 Writing an Art History Paper Examine a work of art in this chapter or on our CD in terms of its historical or social context. Begin by exploring the key themes and imagery of a work to develop an impression of its most significant messages. Consider those messages in terms of the time and place in which the work was created. Explore key concerns representative of the work’s context—you might think about important trends and events or about issues of class, gender, politics, psychology, communication, etc. Select a historical concern that interests you and that can be discussed in terms of the piece of art. Conduct research about this historical concern and this work. Use resources for researching art available from your library to learn what others have said about the work. Conduct Library and Internet research to learn more about the historical concern you are examining. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 24 Next, brainstorm an argument discussing how the work of art relates to the historical concern you have selected. Consider what you know about the reception the work might have received in terms of the historical concern you are exploring. Determine which aspects of the work reflect that concern. Develop a thesis that articulates a way of understanding the work in terms of the concern. Finally, compose a three to five page argument explaining how the work relates to the historical concern. Combine your knowledge of the historical issue with formal analysis of the painting to make the claims that will support your argument. Use evidence from your research and from the work to support your points. Be sure to document your research using the style outlined above or specified by your instructor. Writing Literature About Art Many authors have also use works of art as an opportunity to write creatively. In addition to providing a ready subject for expression, writing creatively about a work of art asks you find an approach to the work that strikes you on a personal level. You must then study the details of a work as you compose. Consider the paired poems and works of art on the following pages. (You can see full color versions of these painting and other pairs of poems and works of art on our CD.) NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 25 Cezanne's Ports Allen Ginsberg In the foreground we see time and life swept in a race toward the left hand side of the picture where shore meets shore. But that meeting place isn't represented; it doesn't occur on the canvas. For the other side of the bay is Heaven and Eternity, with a bleak white haze over its mountains. And the immense water of L'Estaque is a go-between for minute rowboats. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 26 Three for the Mona Lisa John Stone 1 It is not what she did at 10 o'clock last evening accounts for the smile It is that she plans to do it again NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 27 tonight. 2 Only the mouth all those years ever letting on. 3 It's not the mouth exactly it's not the eyes exactly either it's not even exactly a smile But, whatever, I second the motion. Early Sunday Morning John Stone NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 28 Somewhere in the next block someone may be practicing the flute but not here where the entrances to four stores are dark the awnings rolled in nothing open for business Across the second story ten faceless windows In the foreground a barber pole, a fire hydrant as if there could ever again be hair to cut fire to burn And far off, still low in the imagined East the sun that is again right on time adding to the Chinese red of the building despite which color I do not believe the day is going to be hot It was I think on just such a day it is on just such a morning that every Edward Hopper finishes, puts down his brush as if to say As important as what is happening is what is not. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 29 Girl Powdering Her Neck Cathy Song The light is the inside sheen of an oyster shell, sponged with talc and vapor, moisture from a bath. A pair of slippers are placed outside the rice-paper doors. She kneels at a low table in the room, her legs folded beneath her as she sits on a buckwheat pillow. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 30 Her hair is black with hints of red, the color of seaweed spread over rocks. Morning begins the ritual wheel of the body, the application of translucent skins. She practices pleasure: the pressure of three fingertips applying powder. Fingerprints of pollen some other hand will trace. The peach-dyed kimono patterned with maple leaves drifting across the silk, falls from right to left in a diagonal, revealing the nape of her neck and the curve of a shoulder like the slope of a hill set deep in snow in a country of huge white solemn birds. Her face appears in the mirror, a reflection in a winter pond, rising to meet itself. She dips a corner of her sleeve like a brush into water to wipe the mirror; she is about to paint herself. The eyes narrow in a moment of self-scrutiny. The mouth parts as if desiring to disturb the placid plum face; break the symmetry of silence. But the berry-stained lips, stenciled into the mask of beauty, do not speak. Two chrysanthemums touch in the middle of the lake and drift apart. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 31 These poems about painting represent several writers readings of an image. In some instances, images and writing are more closely related, as in advertising images (see below) the works of William Blake in which poems and art combined to create a pictoral composition of words and images, as in the poem “The Shepherd” on page 000. (You can explore more of Blake’s work on pages 000-00 and on our CD- ROM.) NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 32 The Shepherd William Blake (Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, The Library of Congress ) Exercise 12.4 Imagining Compositions Working on your own or with a group of peers, tell the story of one of the characters in the images in this chapter or on our CD. Begin by examining the image and looking at elements of the composition. Think about the setting that is displayed in the image. Look at any objects that might help tell the story. Next, examine the characters and sketch out ideas about what traits they might have. Select a character that you believe to be the protagonist and consider how other characters might relate to him or her. Then, imagine a plot that would explain how the protagonist got to the situation in which he or she is portrayed in the painting. Alternatively, you might imagine forward and tell the story of what is about to happen to one of the characters. Create an outline for a story that introduces the character, builds tension and complication, and concludes with the moment depicted in the painting or a resolution in the future. Finally, using your sense of the setting and characters, use your outline to draft one or more pages that tell the story of the protagonist. (If you or your instructor prefers, you may compose a poem that describes the image you have chosen and the either tells the story of one or more of the characters or conveys a feeling present in the image.) UNDERSTANDING IMAGES IN POPULAR CULTURE In contemporary society, visual images play as significant a role in communication as ever. The most prevalent of these cultural images can be found in advertisement in the popular media. A number of scholars and organizations investigate how these images relate to attitudes and culture. (See the resources on or CD for examples and information about media scholarship.) As we investigate NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 33 these images, we can apply what we know about rhetorical situations (that is speakers and their purposes, audiences, and contexts) to analyses of advertisements. We can also consider what we know about the ways that elements and principles of art convey meanings and appeal to our senses. Considering the rhetorical situation of advertisements Communication never takes place in a vacuum. Rather, individuals or entities act as speakers to produce communication with a specific purpose and target that communication to an audience. Both these speakers and their audiences are also shaped by the historical contexts they inhabit. All of these factors shape the way that messages are produced and received. We can analyze aspects of this situation to better understand popular images. Consider the controversies regarding images used to advertise tobacco. How would you describe the target audience for the message conveyed by the “Joe Camel” image on page 000? Some have suggested that using a cartoon character to advertise cigarettes reveals that the target audience for the advertisement is children (A report on logo recognition indicated that more than half of children ages 3-6 in a study associated the image of “Joe Camel” with cigarettes.) In a 1998 settlement, tobacco companies agreed not to promote products to minors (The Joe Camel campaign ended in 1997). Still, public health officials and others have argued that while U.S. laws prohibit selling (or even advertising) tobacco products to anyone under the age of eighteen, advertisements use images designed to appeal to teenage consumers. Further, companies still place advertisements in magazines like Rolling Stone or Sports Illustrate or in prominent places in convenient stores. We can think of the readers for such magazines or the demographics of those that frequent convenience stores to get a better sense of the possible audiences for such images. (See the information on or CD for more on tobacco advertising.) NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 34 Joe Camel Advertisement We can also evaluate the speaker or entity producing images and about the rhetorical techniques used by these speakers. As we do so, we should remember the role of purpose as it relates to the rhetorical situation. Just as images do not exist in a vacuum, they are not created without a goal. Our understanding of the producer of a message helps us to explore the possible motivations behind them. We can also examine how images used rhetorical techniques to achieve those purposes. Consider how the advertisement against fishing on page 000 prompts us to think about the speaker and purposes behind the image. The ad is meant to raise our awareness of cruelty to fish by evoking our sympathies with the dog in NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 35 the image. Knowing something about the entity that produced the advertisement helps us understand the purpose behind the image. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) takes an activist stance against animal cruelty and pushes people to consider the impacts of our actions on animals and to treat animals with standards much like those we use to relate to other humans. We can see how the add fulfills that purpose using rhetorical techniques expressed in the image. On the level of logic, we might question the tendency of PETA to equate humans and animals or we might debate the merits of equating mammals with fish. The advertising image, however, achieves its purpose primarily through rhetorical techniques designed to appeal to our emotions. The image of the fishhook poking through the cheek of the fluffy dog evokes our sympathies and helps the ad deliver its message. Considering advertising images and their messages Most advertising images rely on appeals to our senses; Many also include words that provoke thought but the primary means of persuasion is usually based on emotion. Further, many advertising images try to tap into ideas that permeate the psyche of their audience. Because these images play and call upon these emotions and idea, they provide an illuminating lens studying aspects of the culture in which they are produced and consumed. Think about the image from a Body Shop advertising campaign reproduced on on page 000. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 36 Body Shop “Ruby” advertisement What does the image say about the roles of men and women in contemporary culture? What does it say about the nature of the ideal woman? What does it say about consumer culture? As we consider images, we must assess the relationship between culture and representations in advertisement and media images? We must consider to what extent the images not only reflect but also reshape the attitudes of the audience for which they are intended. We can also analyze the speakers and purposes behind the messages. In many instances the primary purpose of such advertisements is to increase sales and make a profit. But in doing so, images may achieve a number of related goals such as associating a product with a feeling or idea like sexiness, power, or beauty. Consider this excerpt from a chat conversation a group of students conducted as they analyzed the image: Catherine Hernandez > I think it is a great ad for the body shop because the products they sell are to make everyone feel beautiful Julie Woods > most people know that the average person doesn't look like the women in magazines Samantha Billings > But women want to look like a supermodel, they want to be attractive, they don't want to look to obesity as a model NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 37 Adam Marshall> co. are always looking for different angles to work in advertising. this is comedic and true Catherine Hernandez > but we are still made to feel like we should look like the women in magazines Samantha Billings > I'm not sayiung that you have to look like a supermodel to be attractive... Rene Bishop > I just think it is trying to be realistic Brenda Williams > are we still doing the doll? Julie Woods > but supermodels are supermodels for a reason and people who only think that they are attractive if they look like a supermodel have their own issues Ronald Gains > perhaps they make more money b/c the viewer likes the thought that the body shop is a "good" corporation by thinking they care about these social values. when in reality all their products are made in china... Bridget Allen > i dont like it Greg Casperson > its just like the barbie idea Bridget Allen > no its not Brenda Williams > I think the public desires the "role" models Bridget Allen > barbies have perfect bodies Greg Casperson > everyone wants a more realistic image Kamala Vira > to sell products they're trying to relate to the most consumers, which is the the 3 billion who don't look like supermodels, they're not using a real woman's perspective to appeal to her, so she buys their product Ronald Gains > i've been in one, MADE IN CHINA is stamped on every bottle of shampoo, lotion, etc... Brenda Williams > as inspiration Greg Casperson > yes, but the issue lately was a realistic barbie Catherine Hernandez > society makes you feel this way, I don't think it is fair to say you have issues if you want to look this way Bridget Allen > well according to whatever society tells us is perfect Julie Woods > I don't think you can blame the media for people wanting to look like supermodels Brenda Williams > yes you can Brenda Williams > but you have to blame the ppl too Samantha Billings > Probably a great deal, if we look back in history when Rubens was painting, the idea of a voluptuous woman was seen as the ideal because he painted them inn a glorious light Greg Casperson > is there something wrong with being healthy? Bridget Allen > i dont want to look like a supermodel but i dont want to look like that either Tamara Wilson > no you can't the media plays a role but people are far to impressionable Adam Marshall> people need to think for themselves Brenda Williams > I want to look like a supermopdel Traci Bridgeman > The media definitely plays a role, because when the images flash on tv in remote places, then anorexia suddenly shows up. Like it is now a factor in China. Brenda Williams > lol Julie Woods > i don't feel pressured by magazines to look like a supermodel Adam Marshall> it plays a role but isn't to blame Frank Conner > all companies are motivated by money, that's it Samantha Billings > I feel the pressure Kamala Vira > i'ts just to balance out all those pics of the skinny, flawless models with something real Greg Casperson > i agree Rene Bishop > I think that society does put a great deal of influence on our generation through ads, but i think that people are starting to realize this and this ad is an example of that NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 38 Our arguments about and deliberations on images like these ask us to consider how those association key concerns such as gender roles, the status of women and men, and health. Compare the Body Shop image with the image advertising Moschino Jeans on page 000. To what extent do the images tap into similar ideas that permeate culture? What do the differences between the two images say about the speakers or entities that produce them or the audiences that receive them? Moschino Jeans Advertisement PRACTICING EVALUATING AND WRITING ABOUT ADVERTISING IMAGES You can explore and practice writing about advertising images below. We have provided a number of images, but you can also find many more by conducting Internet searches. You can also find more images and student discussions on our CD. On our CD you can and read and see video clips from the work of scholars like Jean Kilbourne, who studies advertising and issues of culture. NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 39 Candie’s Shoes Advertisement NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 40 Yves Saint Laurent Advertisement Spoof Ad from Adbusters.org NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 41 Schiaffo Ad from About-Face.org NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 42 Tommy Fragrance Ad NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 43 Spoof Ad from Adbusters.org NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 44 Truth Ad from Calvin Klein NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 45 Spoof Ad from Adbusters.org Exercise 12.5 Brainstorming about an advertising image Working on your own or in a group, choose an advertising image from this chapter or on our CD-ROM. Once you have selected an image open a word processor document or take out some note paper and respond to the variations of the journalist’s questions printed below. Who and Where: Who is the speaker or entity that has created the image? What characteristics can you come up with the describe the speaker. Who is the audience that the image is aimed at? How would you characterize the audience? Where does the audience for the image reside? NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 46 How does this location influence the image? Write freely for two to three minutes about this prompt. What and Why: What message is the image sending? In addition to advertising a product, what ideas does the image promote? Why does the image take the approach that it does? Why might it be successful or unsuccessful. Write freely for two to three minutes. How: How does the image deliver its message? What formal elements of art are used to create meaning? How does the image appeal to your senses? Does it use logic, emotions, or some other strategies to convey its message? How do you think viewers will respond? Write freely for two or three minutes. Exercise 12.6 Writing about Advertising Images Write a three to five page paper in which you analyze one or more advertising images in terms of the strategies they use to convey meaning and their relationship to a trend or concern in society--you might, for instance, look at images used to market designer clothing in terms or social issues of body image and health. You might also look at issues such as violence, self esteem, social groups, consumers and labor practices, substance abuse, or some other issue related to the image you discuss. You will need to conduct reseach into the social issue you are exploring. You can refer to the Web sites and resources for this Chapter on our CD for information about research, or conduct research using the strategies outlined in Chapter X. In your paper provide a thesis that will organize your work and narrow your focus--for instance, problems with teen anorexia cannot be attributed solely to fashion advertising. Then construct an essay that explains your thesis by discussing the social issue and analyzes the advertising images for the messages they convey. As you analyze the images, be sure to look at aspects of their form, imagery, and themes. Just as you might when analyzing a work of art, explain how the formal elements of the image create a visual message for readers. You may want to analyze more than one image to NMWL Ch12 DRAFT 47 make your point, but don't go overboard with more than three or so images--better to discuss fewer images in depth. Document the images and sources that you use following the conventions outlined in Appendix XX.
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