Reading Question 3/13

“And third, there are those who insist that the most important site at which the meaning of an image is made is not its author, or indeed its production itself, but its audiences, who bring their own ways of seeing and other knowledges to bear on an image and in the process make their own meanings from it” (Rose 23).


In this section, Rose discusses the ways of seeing and the sites, “at which the meanings of an image are made” (16). Although she does not directly discuss ethos in this section by calling it such, she does address the credibility of the author/creator of a particular image. With her perspective of meaning making in mind, how does this theory of knowledge production translate to quantitative images (graphs and charts)? For example, if different individuals released two graphs and each image represented the same set of quantifiable information differently, what would be the author’s role in the image reception? What if one author was Neil deGrasse Tyson and the other was a graduate student in physics? In this case, would the authors still not contribute as much meaning to the image as the audiences themselves? [LW]

Glossary Term – Image

Image: A modern understanding of this term points to a material/visual representation, which depicts something–a photograph or sign for example. Lynda Barry uses image to refer to “something which feels somehow alive, has no fixed meaning and is contained and transported by something that is not alive (15).” This definition is closer the the Latin imaginem, which may refer to a “phantom” or “ghost.” The object that performs this in Latin use is imago, referring to an insect that has reached its final form. Can we think of image as the sad person who smiles at a stranger in order to depict a state of happiness? Barry uses the example of a child’s blanket which is an image of safety. Safety has life, has no fixed meaning as we all experience it differently, and is contained in the blanket. This usage comes close to the idea of punctum