As the world of online writing continues to grow and evolve, many people are realizing that visual images can greatly enhance the appeal of their article. This is certainly true. However, writers need to be aware that the images accompanying their articles can affect the way a reader interprets the piece. Here are two reasons why.
1. Images can express your ideological slant.
There are innumerable examples to support this view, but I will discuss just one here. In a brief yet compelling article entitled “First Person: Blatant Truth is Guns Help Us Protect Our Families” regarding why she and her husband keep hand guns in their home, Yahoo Contributor Elaina Wicks included a photo in which she is holding a firearm. In addition to providing the reader with a clear understanding regarding what the article is about, this picture hints at the notion that the writer supports American citizens being able to arm themselves. Indeed, when one reads the article, it becomes plain that this is the ideological slant of the author.
2. Images provide your reader with a visual summary of your text.
Like an abstract to a thesis, images that accompany your article provide a reader with a quick overview of what idea you are attempting to convey. Thus when Yahoo Contributor Sabah Karimi wrote her article “13 Beauty Resolutions for 2013” it was fitting for the accompanying image to be a palette of cosmetics and make-up brushes. These visuals informed the reader that her article would be somehow related to the world of beauty.
Recently, I began perusing the content of a notable online publication called The Magazine. Upon doing so, I stumbled across an interesting article called “Gender Binder.” In it, writer Glenn Fleishman points out that The Magazine has published the works of more men than women. At the beginning of his article, Fleishman depicts and discusses a photo depicting both men and women pointing forward with enthusiasm. Directly beneath the photo, Fleishman references the fact that the hands of the women are out of focus while their male counterparts have hands that are in focus. This, he argues, shows a pro-male bias. Fleishman’s article alone provided an interesting analysis of these types of sexist biases. Yet his decision to include (and discuss) the photo depicting the in-focus and out of focus hands greatly contributed to my understanding that patriarchal systems of thought and praxis was his central theme. This is another example of how photos that accompany articles can summarize the topical content of the work.
As mentioned earlier, images can convey a world of meaning to a writer’s audience. For this reason, it is important to pay careful attention to what concepts your reader is likely gathering from the photos or pictures you include with your article. Good luck!
Jocelyn Crawley holds B.A. degrees in English and Religious Studies. Her work has appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician, Nailpolish Stories, Visceral Uterus, Four and Twenty and Haggard and Halloo. Other stories are forthcoming in Faces of Feminism and Calliope.
Related Articles From Jocelyn:
Writing Tips: Conflating Sensorial Elements
Writing Tips: Fictionalizing Reality
Writing Tips: A Brief Note on Intentional Superfluity