Commentary on Visual Communications

Studying this section on Visual Communications has alerted me to the unconscious responses and subliminal messages of advertising, and  visual communications generally . I now find myself more curious about the elements of magazine images and the television adverts . I’m also more interested in the opening film clip and credits of television programmes , something which previously I ignored . The creativity in this area is engaging and inspiring me to seek to understand this aspect of communication .

As a counsellor in my day job, communication is an essential tool . I have used a simple form of art therapy to help people express emotions that may feel too painful or scary to speak about , but this section on visual communications has opened my mind to a far greater extent and reminded me of archetypal images considered by psychiatrist/psychotherapist, Carl Jung, to be part of the collective unconscious . An example of this is the ugly witch. When seen in any context this image is most likely to arouse the same feelings . This fascinates me as the idea of an image that transcends language and western culture whilst carrying the same message


I enjoyed looking at the knitting projects and although I have a healthy image of knitters it was a delight to see the creativity end unexpected ideas . Perhaps the most intriguing of the exercises has been exploring images like the “Join the Navy” poster with the sailor astride the torpedo . Although in these times we openly acknowledge and recognize the torpedo as a phallic symbol, in the 1920s that acknowledgment may have not been conscious but would still have had an effect on the viewer. The unconscious message of power and strength through sexual prowess would have been there and actively affected the viewer in the same way that a more conscious response would affect a viewer today.


The relationship between images when re-contextualised is interesting too. I enjoy the idea of building on the familiar image  then creating something partly or entirely different. Where this may be socially-specific, for example in political satire, it becomes almost like an “in-joke” and could possibly be an image with no text.
Re – appropriated images offer a similar opportunity. When researching for the assignment online there were several images used in this way including those of the Mona Lisa, selling pizza, wearing a niqab, and even sporting a smiley face emoticon.

Although I do not feel drawn to study this area further, I have very much enjoyed it and learned a great deal. I have a greater appreciation of the way images are used, as well as the impact of typography which I first discovered as an art form earlier in the course. Despite having little knowledge of how to create images using technology, I have felt inspired to try. With a free app I took my chosen Vermeer image and created something different as shown here. I feel this part of the course will improve my creativity and widen my view.
(503 words)picsketch-2016-09-16-13-22-48


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