I took a Photography class because I wanted to fulfill my Arts requirement but I also heard that the teacher was one sharp cookie. She is a big believer that art is a language that you are either literate in or not. She believes that images and photography is going to be the most important language to know in the coming years. Be it the point of view of a photojournalist (and how people always forget that photojournalists have biases just like regular journalists do), or the ramifications of camera phones and all the visual media that anyone – like bloggers – are creating, the language of visual literacy has some interesting angles to explore.
She has some provocative challenges. Bring her a photo album of your family and she will tell you more about your family that you can yourself. Put up a plain old photograph and if everyone in the room agrees it’s “good” there may well be a cultural consensus for why that’s so. Finally, she thinks that any company that hasn’t brought in someone like her trained in the field to talk about interpreting and understanding visual images is nuts.
I’m not a big arts guy, but these ideas seem to be much deeper than just “a picture is worth a 1000 words.” Shouldn’t EVERYONE be trained in this language, not just advertisers? Are you?