Image Studies

Image Studies

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Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation

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Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation
W.J.T. Mitchell
University of Chicago Press, 1995, ISBN: 978-0226532325.

Online Review: In analyzing the “pictorial turn” in his book Picture Theory, Mitchell begins with the important assumption that although it has been established that we are living in a culture of spectacle and surveillance, we still do not have a clear understanding of the essential nature of pictures, their relation to verbal language, the ways in which they have effect on their viewers and the world, their historicality, nor their future implications (13).  Rather than being a cultural phenomenon in which images have come to play a more exigent and meaningful role in 20th and 21stst century cultures, the “pictorial turn” is a pressingrealization that visual literacy is more complicated than way may have previously perceived and that the current model of textuality employed to understand and study images is not sufficient considering the complexity of visual culture (16). Mitchell suggests that we begin to look to pictures themselves for answers to their nature, function, and historicality. [SEE MORE…]

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