Exploring Visual Literacy Through Photography

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2 Page Essay (approximately 500 words), not including the image attachment at the end of the
document or the Works Cited page.
In recent weeks we have read a number of texts written by Roland Barthes, including: “The
Photographic Message,” “Rhetoric of the Image,” “Shock-Photos” and Camera Lucida as well as
Geoffrey Batchen’s “Palinode”. Within these works we see a spectrum of analytical approaches to
image analysis from positing the photograph as a “message without a code” to a deeply affecting
“wound”. Similarly, in your own close-reading and note taking within the reading guides, you have been
keeping track of citations and developing your own informed interpretations of key terms related to this
spectrum. For this essay, I would like for you to succinctly and thoughtfully analyze one photograph,
which you support with citations from Barthes’s Camera Lucida.
During our last class, you selected an image with punctum from LensCulture’s Portrait Award Winners.
I would like for you to now develop a formal essay where you first establish for your reader what
punctum and studium mean by citing Barthes in a They Say / I Say construction. Then you will analyze
a single photograph in accordance with these terms. For the most part, this will be an in-class writing
activity where you refine your ideas from the initial quick-write and begin crafting a polished draft.
Given the length of the essay, dedicate most of the focus to the paragraph establishing your terms and
the paragraph where you analyze the photograph.
Please consult the folder on Blackboard, which includes a link to the LensCulture website, a copy of the
PowerPoint with images as well as a brief article one writing short analytical essays.
As a reminder, this paper should demonstrate a complete argument which includes a title that reflects the
content of your essay, as well as an introductory paragraph and a conclusion. Follow the Guidelines for
Submission of Written Work specified on the course syllabus. I will not give credit for any paper which
does not follow the Guidelines or is submitted late.


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