week 3 paper 3

Below are 12 Visual Literacy Exercises from which to choose. You are required to conduct ONE for the term and write a separate Response Essay to the exercise and include that image with your response essay (worth 100 points each). It is due no later than 11:59 p.m. Sunday of Week 3.

Please follow and number these three specific steps when conducting your Visual Literacy exercise:

  • Select, spell out, and conduct an exercise from below.
  • Explain in detail how you went about the exercise, what became apparent as you conducted this exercise, and be sure to include the image (so I know exactly what you are looking at).
  • Write a brief “Response” to what you just experienced; in other words, what did you learn as a result of this Visual Literacy exercise.


  1. The frame – in an attempt to understand how the camera “sees” differently than the human eye, cut out a 4” x 6” cardboard frame (with a hole the size of a 35mm negative in the middle) to view the world around you. Close one eye and hold the cardboard a few inches from your open eye. Arrange objects, big and small, in the frame. Use the edges to include or exclude objects in the frame. Try cutting through an object or person with an edge of the frame. Try panning the frame slowly in a 180° arc. See how the view changes when you move the cardboard closer or further from your eye.
  1. Find an example of a billboard or bus stop advertisement trying to sell a product to women. Describe in detail the thoughts and emotions that the image is trying to elicit to women. Then demonstrate what would have to change in order to sell a similar product to men. – Brian Fischer
  1. Choose a snapshot you have taken or anything you have designed or made (drawing, embroidery, garden, living arrangement, clothes) and analyze what effect or message you intended. Ask someone what message or effect you have created. Compare your intentions with the responses.
  1. Find an example of a bad visual design in graphics, which, although it was intended to deliver a message, is difficult to read and understand. Analyze how much ambiguity has contributed to the failure of the visual statement.
  1. Find two images, one with perfect balance and the other completely – and perhaps deliberately — imbalanced. Analyze them from the point of view of the basic compositional arrangement and its effects.
  1. Shoot the same photograph twice — one out of focus and the other in focus. Study the abstract out-of-focus version for its compositional feeling. Evaluate how you feel the abstract message relates to the representational (in-focus) photo. Could it be improved by changing the point of view of the camera? Make a rough sketch to see how you might change it by moving the camera.
  1. Choose a movie you have NOT seen and find a promotional poster for it. Analyze and list the techniques used to enhance and capture the audience’s attention. Do the advertising techniques reveal what kind of movie it will be?— Sittipong Sayphrarath
  1. Look for an example of a design or graphic where surprise in the juxtaposition of unexpected visual information dramatizes the artist’s underlying intention.
  1. Watch a primetime TV show from back in the early ‘70s then watch a current primetime show and note the similarities and differences in issues discussed. Be sure to address if drugs and/or sex play a factor in either instance. – Ashton Julian
  1. Backtrack through your day and try to recall all of the advertisements you’ve seen, naming as many as possible. What stereotypes were they supporting? What techniques were the marketers using to make you want to purchase this product? If you are not able to recall any advertisements, do the same exercise the following day but this time take notes of the ads you see. Answer the questions above but also discuss why you think you could not recall any ads from the first day. – Paris Whalon
  1. Take a number of advertisements, posters, or photographs and beside each one list the techniques most evident in their composition. Or, select various film scenes and conduct this same exercise.
  1. Find a film on DVD which you have NOT already seen. Examine the DVD cover image(s) and predict what the movie will be about by just looking at the cover. Then watch the movie. How does your prediction about the movie compare to what actually happened? What are the similarities or differences? – Malcolm McCleary

Visual Literacy Exercises excerpted from previous VisLit students and/or:

  • Donis Dondis, A Primer of Visual Literacy
  • Ernest Hans Gombrich, The Image and the Eye: Further Studies in the

Psychology of Pictorial Representation

  • R.A. Weale, Focus on Vision
  • Ann Marie Seward Barry, Visual Intelligence: Perception, Image, and

Manipulation in Visual Communication

  • Elizabeth Grabe, Ph.D., Professor, Indiana University’s School of Journalism,

Bloomington, Indiana

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