The Importance of Visual Literacy Essay

The Importance of Visual Literacy Essay

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Studying visual literacy means understanding the process of formally analyzing art or architecture. Formal analysis includes identification of who, what, when, where, why, and how, along with the analyzation of formal elements of line, color, medium, texture, shape, and space. Visual and aesthetic qualities must also be considered, composition, movement, scale, light, mood, meaning, and style, when formally analyzing art or architecture. Formal analysis of art and architecture is what a knowledgeable artist or critic uses to form an opinion about a piece. The identification, formal elements, and visual and aesthetic qualities are a foundation upon which a person builds an educated opinion.
Visual literacy can be defined as a way of using sight to evaluate, apply or create. Education, art history, art criticism, philosophy, graphic designers and more use the term “Visual Literacy” to mean different things. The term is widely contested throughout the art world. Wikipedia defines it as “The ability to interpret negotiate, and make meaning, from information presented in the form of an image (Visual Literacy, 2011).” There are many definitions used to define the term and all are lacking, it’s like trying to put ten pounds into a two pound sack. No one definition will suffice to encompass the whole scope of what visual literacy means.
Normally sighted people think of visual literacy as the way in which we interpret and decode meaning in advertising, signage, art, and so on. This course in visual literacy has taught me, is that the term “Visual Literacy” can be altered depending on the individuals sense of vision. Looking at three different cases in Oliver Sacks An Anthropologist on Mars; Seven Paradoxical Tales, “The C...


... middle of paper ...


... These cases present us with an opportunity to question tradition helping to broaden our horizons. Visual literacy becomes defined as not just what we see but what is perceived. James Elkins comes the closest to the best description of visual literacy, “Understanding how people perceive objects. Interpret what they see and what they learn from them.” To be visually literate means having the ability to use the visual world around you to create and interpret from.


Works Cited

Elkins, J (2010) The concept of visual literacy, and its limitations, in: Visual literacy. New York, New York: Routledge. (217)
Sacks, O. (1995) An anthropologist on mars: Seven paradoxical tales. New York, New York: Vintage Books. (3-41,107-152,188 - 243)
Visual Literacy. (2011 February, 22) . Retrieved June 5, 2011 from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_literacy

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