Friday, May 8, 2009

Two Photos, Two Different Stories

Given the graphic nature of the Web, visual literacy and information literacy are inextricably entwined. The ability to make sense of graphical or illustrative material is critical, especially since we are more quickly attracted to images on pages than text. At least that's my theory.

Visual literacy falls into the area of investigative searching: how credible is the image? What does it mean? What is it's purpose?

Without going into it deeply, images can be assigned several purposes: to convey information in a more robust way than text alone (hence, a picture is worth a thousand words), to make a page more visually appealing, to move us emotionally and, here's the one I want to address here, to deceive us.

Fake or photoshopped photos are quite easy to produce. Recall the photo of the sightseer atop the North Tower posing for the camera while an AA jet fast approaches? That's what I'm talking about.

So here is the visual challenge for today. Look at the two shark pictures. Here are links to larger images:

Hitching a ride

Kayak on a serene sea

Both of them may be real. Or just one of them. Or neither. How can you tell? Careful investigation will reveal the answer. If you want to leave your assessment and how you did it by commenting, go ahead. Otherwise I'll talk about some techniques in the next blog.

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