Toward a Theory of Visual Presentation.Report as inadecuate

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Communication is a multi-faceted discipline which has often neglected the study of images as spatial, stylistic experiences in favor of exploring the social impact of their contents. This essay offers an addition to the traditional emphases of communication by building on the concepts of framing (perspectives on how meaning is created) and depictions of visual space as means of situating the impact and appeal of imagery. A spectrum of deeper ("window") to flatter ("frame" or "border") presentation modes is explored for several visual media, noting a conceptual heritage in classic film theory and differences from the recent academic focus on semiotic-ideological perspectives. Then a brief history of Western imagery from the Renaissance to the present is presented for painting, photography, cinema, video, multi-image projections, and computer multimedia. Encouragement is given to understand and incorporate into communication study the visual implications of "Classic" and "Special Case" windows and frames. How the full range of communication scholars choose to incorporate the study of visuals throughout the discipline--both in form and content--will help determine the future history and validity of a multi-faceted field. Contains 24 notes and 76 references. (Author/NKA)

Descriptors: Communication (Thought Transfer), Higher Education, Imagery, Scholarship, Visual Aids

Author: Burke, Ken


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