Guidelines for Essay #2: Visual Analysis

Purpose and Learning Objectives
In this assignment, you should practice writing using the writing process and developing a well-constructed analysis essay in formal register. The essay should show how an analysis of the visual components of an image leads to a better understanding of the image.
Process for Completion 

The first step      in this process will be to choose an image.  Browse the images      available through the Gordon Parks Foundation Archives.  The link is      available near the end of Unit 3.  Choose an image that you find      engaging and that you feel offers ample opportunity for analysis. Some      images are interesting, but they’re difficult to talk about.  The      image you choose will be the subject of your essay.
After you have      chosen your image, you should engage in      some prewriting activities using the ideas and terms presented      in Unit 4.  First, take stock of your initial reactions to the      image.  What emotions did you feel as you first looked at the      photograph?  What aspects about the image lead viewers to react      a certain way?
Before you begin      writing, you will want to perform some research. This assignment requires      at least one source (print or web). If you’re choosing an image about the      Civil Rights Movement, you might want to research the movement. If you’re      choosing an image about Flavio in Rio de Janeiro, you might want to      research how Gordon Parks met Flavio. You’re welcome to use more than one      source, but be sure to keep track of the information you gain from your      source so that you can cite the source appropriately.
Next, analyze      the image by looking closely at the content, framing, composition, focus,      color, lighting and context.  What interesting or unique features do      you notice about the image?  What is the cultural or historical      context of the image?  You should record all of these activities.      Some of them will become important pieces of your final draft.
Next, it will be      time to find your focus and begin generating a working thesis      statement.  For this assignment, your thesis will make a claim about      the meaning of the image.  In other words, what      message does the image communicate?  Remember, every image tells a      story and an image may tell a different story depending on who is      looking.  Once you have decided what idea or story the image      communicates to you, you will need to explain how content, framing, focus,      color, angle and lighting come together to create that story or convey      meaning. Your thesis will be more specific if you show which visual      elements your essay discusses and what they do to create meaning. So, an      example thesis might be something like this: “Through content, framing,      and angle, the image demonstrates how segregation affected not only adults      but also the children of black families in the South.”
After completing      the previous steps, it will be time to begin drafting your essay.       The following outline might help you to structure your initial      draft.

Introduction: Identify and       describe the image. It is so very important that you identify the image       very clearly. Use the name of the photographer and the image: for       example, you might say, “In Gordon Parks’s photograph titled “American       Gothic,” a woman stands in front of a flag with a broom in her hand and a       mop in the background.” In the introduction, you might show why the image       is important or relevant or provide some background information about it. Please       embed the image into the body of your essay somewhere so that the       readers can see it. One way to embed the image is to put your       mouse on the image and right-click, and then select “copy.” Next, go to       your document and right-click on your document, and then select “paste.”
Thesis:  Tell your       readers what idea or story the image communicates. Be sure the thesis       shows the result of your analysis. (See the above discussion in #4 under       Process for Completion.)
Supporting       paragraphs:         Explain how the visual elements come together to create meaning.        In multiple body paragraphs, discuss the effect of content, framing,       composition, color, focus, angle, lighting and/or context.  You       should not discuss every one of these elements, but you       should discuss enough of them so that your reader understands how the       visual elements work together to create a story and to create meaning.       You may have three or more body paragraphs dedicated to this task.        It would be a good idea to discuss just one or two elements in each       paragraph.
Conclusion:  At a       minimum, your conclusion should remind your reader how the visual       elements convey meaning.

Minimum Requirements

The final draft      of your essay should be between 600 and 900 words in length (about 2 -3      pages long).
The essay should      meet the expectation of an academic rhetorical situation. You will be      expected to use formal register English.  Your audience will be a      general audience of educated adults. 
The image you      have chosen as the subject for your essay should be linked to      or embedded in the body of the essay.
The essay should      be written in MLA format, with a proper header, page numbers, title, and      font. See the MLA guidelines on page 404 in EQ.
The essay should      discuss two or more visual elements from the lessons.
The essay should      cite at least one source. The source should be cited in MLA format, so      there should be an in-text citation for the source and a works cited page.      Books, journals, magazines, and web sources are all acceptable for this      assignment, but you should be sure to consider the reliability of your      sources. You should not use Wikipedia.
You should also      include one of your vocabulary words and mark the word by changing the      font to red for that word. 

Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas without giving credit and is a serious academic offense.  It can range from:
•    Turning in a paper any part of which you did not write,
•    Cutting and pasting a paper together from various sources without attributing the sources correctly,
•    Changing a few words but basically keeping most of the words and sentence structure of the original,
•    Using the ideas of another without giving credit to the person who originally had the idea.
•    Using the exact words of the source without using quotation marks even if you give the name of the source.
Refer to the syllabus for consequences of plagiarism in this class. For more information, see
Submission Protocol
Your assignment must be submitted as a Microsoft Word attachment.
See rubric for more information about how you will be graded.

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