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Stand-Alone Photos

In Becker’s reading, he writes, “Photographs attain meaning only in relation to the settings in which they are encountered…photographs have no meaning independent of their relationship to the words, graphic elements, and other factors in the display which surround and penetrate them.” I have included a photo of a cover of Aperture magazine, which I subscribe to. I agree that many pictures are dependent on the story which surrounds them to give them impact; however, I think there are many photos that can stand-alone and still have a strong impact on viewers. This cover, while it does not contain a great amount of information, is still visually interesting enough to draw attention and interest from viewers. The same is true, even more so, in the case of graphic images such as the ones we viewed during the graduate students’ presentation this week, specifically, the image taken by Kevin Carter of a starving child being watched by a vulture. This image simply does not need words to make an impact.




I agree that stand-alone’s can sometimes have more of an impact than those attached to the stories. They have their own voice and strengths in the way the image is captured and than shown.


It’s images like these that prompt me to pick up a magazine. It can tell a story on its own, but the image is compelling enough to make me want to know more about it. An image of a flower, or of happy people wouldn’t have anywhere near as strong of an effect on my desire to learn more about the image.

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