Time for Show AND Tell

In my previous post, ‘Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe,‘ I told you just how important it is to get to the point and get to it as soon as you can to maintain your audience. We also discussed how important it is to have an interesting personality while doing so. Many might assume that a way one could acheive this is by replacing words with images. WrongA text or an image should never replace one another, but enhance one another. Sturken and Cartwright, in their publication, The Practice of Looking, stress the use of images to provide context

The reason that context is so important in writing, especially in blogging, is because although you as a writer will always have an intended meaning, that does not mean that is what will be interpreted by the reader. Sturgeon and Cartwright express:

People often see an image differently from how it is intended to be seen, either because they bring experiences and associations to a particular image that were not anticipated from its producer, or because the meanings they derive are informed by the context (or setting) in which an image is seen.

In short, a visual artist without text or audio does not have full control over the interpretations of his/her audience, but as a blogger you do, and it is time to take advantage of it.

This is not to say the context is more important to message interpretation than the image or vice versa. They are equally important.


When choosing an image there are two concepts that should cross your mind:

  1. aesthetics: individual interpretation (unavoidable)
  2. taste: deals with class, culture, education, etc.

By imagining where your audience would fall relative to these two fundamental concepts, you should be able to create a stereoptye, referred to in similar discourse as an ideology by Sturken and Cartwright, for your audience. Keeping this stereotype in mind when choosing an image should help you imagine what your average reader will see when he/she comes across it.


A way to see these points in the works is to refer to the header image of this article. In this image the little boy is playing the piano in a room that appears to have been a blank canvas at one point, that is now littered with colorful circles. To me, I imagine the artist is trying to express the innocence of the child through his white clothes and the blank white room. At the same time I see the artist prefacing just how complicated his life is about to become with the million different possible paths for him to choose from and the immense pressure to be talented (hence the piano). However, these interpretations probably did not come across yall’s minds in the same way. The reason I came to this conclusion is likely because of my relation to previous research on how millennial’s have grown up, because of this blog. Maybe you just saw it as a colorful room? This is why context is crucial.




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