Visual Rhetoric is…

[ENGL 527]

Results of intrigue from playing with Googlism (as a means of starting to define visual rhetoric is… I started (unconsciously?) with “what”, but then moved to “where”, “when”, and “who”):

  • visual rhetoric is a framework that is theoretical; it expresses that how the visual image helps in communicating any message to the audience | implications that the visual is not a message itself?
  • visual rhetoric is as simple as understanding a concept in an image and writing to persuade a reader of that concept | it’s that simple!
  • visual rhetoric is a lot like traditional rhetoric | looking through a triangular lens? too simple; perhaps a prism? and what about a kaleidoscope?
  • visual rhetoric is how/why visual images | a move beyond that what of the visual? is this analysis? where does analysis come into visual rhetoric?
  • visual rhetoric is the need of visual literacy | reminds me of a quote from Cynthia Selfe in Writing New Media, visual literacy is “the ability to read, understand, value, and learn from visual materials-especially as these are combined to create a text-as well as the ability to create, combine, and use visual elements and messages for the purposes of communicating” (69)
  • visual rhetoric is actually representations and images | visual, adj. “of or relating to seeing or sight”, and noun “a picture, piece of film, or display used to illustrate or accompany something. there is still this connotation of visual being a representation or accompaniment to something else, perhaps textual (in a alphanumeric sense). aside from an image (which is what? a photograph? a painting? a graphic?), what else can a visual be?
  • visual rhetoric is an area of study and practice in rhetoric based on the ability of images not only to have an aesthetic effect but also to convey meaning | this leaves me questioning if there is terminology (within visual rhetoric?) that distinguishes between shades/types of feeling responses – the aesthetic response, the analysis response, the reading response. but this leaves me questioning why I don’t question this for “nonvisual” responses.

An attempt at definition through a rebus generator:

Visual rhetoric is

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