Reading Visual Culture

1 January 2017

When reading visual culture one can easily be led to interpret from images . Visual representations have many different meanings, the way that some interpreted Visual culture and visual representations can in a way influence, confuse or inform others of their meanings. Visual culture is found almost anywhere in the world, no one really knows when it dates back to as there is so much visual culture in history. There are many examples of visual culture in different times, churches use to use visual culture in their stained glass windows.

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These windows use to be quite delicate pieces of art and were once considered highly religious, this was because of what was placed inside the windows and where they were most likely to be found was in churches. This was a ‘visual’ as it was able to be seen, but in many ways what was seen may not be real. For instance many of these church windows had angles on them and this made them in a way a fantasy or non-realistic character to some. The ‘culture’ of these windows was the people who viewed these on a religious basis, in other words the ones who shared the same values about the church that the windows were found in.

Although there could be some confusion when discussing visible things and visual culture. Visible things are something like a chair, whereas visual culture would be a picture of the chair. The confusion normally lies in the word visible and visual, visualising something can be done when you see a poster and all the different pictures and writing that make up that poster. The format of a visual and how it is represented can impact others in different ways. If you see a sign that is red and says stop, your brain tells you that you need to stop only because this is what it has learnt to do in some cultures.

Although in another culture where the word stop is just a heap of wiggly lines and means nothing they may see the red as danger and be cautious about their actions. Another example is when you read hieroglyphics, all most that do not understand them see are images of birds and leaves, whereas the people who know the writing see them as letters and words, it is how things are represented in the mind of others or one’s self. One of the basic units in visual culture can be signs, they can be icons and symbols, and are comprised of different codes.

One thing can mean another and then could lead to a serious of different events. Signs that are a well-known icon are something like Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is a worldwide known product, it is iconic to those who see it. There are many different ways people think of Coke, one of which is the writing on the bottle and the red label that coincides with the label on the bottle. Signs are comprised of different codes, in saying this they are all in their own way a code.

In the war a code was considers a bunch or mumbled up words that made no sense, it only made sense to those who understood them. This is much like signs, only those who understand the signs can read them. Referring back to the stop sign as they are symbolic codes, whereas posters are iconic codes, the reasoning for this is because one symbolises an action whilst the other is an iconic image that is there to be seen and viewed so it may draw those who view it in. Although symbolic signs and iconic signs may seem very different they can sometimes be the same.

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