Hungry Planet: A Study of Photographical Rhetoric through the Global Food Economy

Hungry Planet: A Study of Photographical Rhetoric through the Global Food Economy

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In the early 1800s a young French inventor, by the name of Nicéphore Niépce, began to perfect the science of modern, camera photography. From “selfies” with Pope Francis, to Eddie Adams famous, Vietnam era photograph of Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Nguyễn Văn Lém . Photography has revolutionized the way that we communicate to each other; the world has not been the same since. When used candidly, the camera’s innate ability to capture the world it sees accurate is skewed only by the the person controlling its direction.
What are rhetoric appeals? How do they tie into the world of photography? Rhetorical appeal can be thought of a as a triangle; on one corner you have ethos. Ethos is the appeal to credibility or the ethics of the photographer. On another corner, you have pathos, which is defined as the appeal to the audiences emotion. Lastly, on the final corner, you have logos. Logos is the appeal to logic. The audience will decide if the photographer is logical and reasonable.
Let us fast forward roughly 200 years; the world’s population has exploded, agriculture has changed, diets have changed, and in many countries the typical day to day lifestyle of its citizens have changed. America has become a country of tremendous wealth and has largely broken away from the rest of the world, in almost every conceivable aspect. In this paper I will try to tackle the aspects of rhetorical appeal, while educating you on the issues that are facing the global food economy. I will also try to explain how all of this, along with a family from Egypt, and Peter Menzel factor into American food culture.
Peter Menzel is a photojournalist best known for his works in the New York Times, Time magazine, and National Geographic. He has covered count...


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...is has clearly made a conscious effort to control the camera’s and his own biases by showing us “average” families from several countries. It is only after we analyze Peter’s pictures that a persuasive and emotional appeal occurs. By leaving the pathos up the reader, Peter’s ethos or credibility increases as well. You could argue that some of the pictures, especially ones of malnourished families are an appeal to one’s emotions, but one of the points this project drives home is that all countries have problems and that there must be a global solution not just a national solution. Finally, we look at logos. Peter’s Hungry Planet project is well substantiated with logical evidence. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, Peter’s photos may be worth so much more. It is very hard to argue against Peter’s stance, because of the magnitude of his empirical data.

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