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A place to remember and to share articles, videos, and information about art and culture. My primary audience is students of the arts, with the purpose of expanding the discussion and encouraging research.

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Entries in Ferguson (1)

Friday
Aug152014

Images Matter

When reporting the news images really do matter, and this is a great example of how image and text can sway public opinion. The image on the left is of a protestor throwing a Molotov cocktail, and the other image is of a peaceful protestor begging for answers with police in riot gear in the background. Both have the same headline: "All Hell Breaks Loose." PDN has a great article up about how readers on Twittr disliked the image, which eventually led to the paper changing the picture to the one on the right.

The images reminded me of another controversial trial in America that dealt with race - OJ Simpson. These images of his mugshot were published by Time and Newsweek at the time of his arrest, and were on newsstands the same week.

There is a great deal of discussion about the manipulation of this image related to the ethics of digital photography. It is just so easy to darken or lighten skin, put heads on different bodies, etc. However, through the years of teaching about this image of OJ, I have noticed something else about it. Newsweek has the lighter skin, but notice the caption, "Trail of Blood." Time is the same picture with darker skin and the text reads, "An American Tragedy." In the end, to me anyway, it seems like both point the reader to the same conclusion just in different ways.

The television has been in our living rooms since the 50's, and the camera has been around since the late 1830's. We still only teach our children the alphabet and numbers, and never say a word about images, which are incredibly persuasive. I'm sure this makes the advertising industry really happy, but I think it is way past time that we started teaching media literacy in grade school.

Photo Credit for top image: PDN news via Philadelphia Daily News