Eyeing A1

A look at newspaper front pages from around the country

Archive for the ‘multimodality’ Category

Video Remix Essay #2: Why I did what I did

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From the very beginning of the video “Remix on Homosexual Relationships from 1950s to Now” I wanted to talk about homosexual relationship. I lead with a pair of hands because I want there to be a surprise first that there are two men touching hands as opposed to a heterosexual relationship. From that point, almost every image focused on same-sex couple of 1940-50s educational videos and contemporary Super Bowl ads.

The images that didn’t focus on same-sex couples reinforced homosexual stereotypes. Specially, the clip of the African-American saying “Ooooweeee,” after a gym teacher says, “Here’s the penis.” Homosexual African-American men have a stereotype of being flamboyant and that clip reinforces that idea as it was shown in a banned Super Bowl commercial ad from this year.

Jim Nantz’s clip of “How ‘bout not,” is used throughout the video as the true voice as what is being said in today’s society. Every free audio clip is used from marriage educational videos about freedom to choose who want to marry and love. However, in 2010, people are still fighting for their right to marry whom they want. Jim Nantz is the white male who is telling them this isn’t actually the case.

There were some difficulties in trying to find the right type of videos for women. Homosexual women are usually portrayed as masculine. Pretty women who have lesbian tendencies are usually just experimenting. There weren’t many videos that showed women together. In fact, the only contemporary clip I could find of two women was dressed in golf clothing in masculine looking outfits. Women don’t seem to be portrayed as just friends as they were in 1950s educational films. As much as we have changed in 60 years, it seems women had better relationships with each in the 1950s educational films than they do now.

At the every end, the quick clips with the different same-sex couples are just to show them as people. Fading cuts in-between each shot give them their own place even for a moment. Each couple deserves their own time just has heterosexual couples get the bulk of the attention.

But, of course, the white male gets in the last word.

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Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Is ‘I Live Here’ journalism?

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I don’t consider ‘I Live Here” journalism. It’s great non-fiction, but not journalism. There was research done and the telling of stories, but to be considered journalism there needs to be other sources than just the victims.

That doesn’t mean, however, journalists can’t learn from the presentation of ‘I Love Here’ and how to get similar emotional effects out of their readers.

Words and black and white pictures aren’t going to cut it anymore. There are reasons newspaper subscriptions are dwindling, which obvious reasons are the availability of news on the Internet and other mediums. Newspaper companies are using the Internet, but aren’t making money. Many of the pay-wall sites haven’t done well, which is well documented.

How can newspapers (and when I say newspaper, I don’t change mean the physical paper) change?

I found ‘I Live Here’ engaging and that’s what newspapers need to do to engage the readers.

I think too many newspapers don’t think of presentation enough. They are more concerned with just cramming as many words into ever-decreasing pages. Visually, to me, that’s unappealing. It’s proven by the fact that I rarely look at the newspaper that is delivered to my home. I still pay for it. I like knowing I have the option for the paper because I still prefer looking at the physical paper to a website.

However, if I knew a newspaper changed its presentation, I would be interested in looking at it to see what was different.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Remixing marriage rights

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Initially, I intended to do a video on gender roles based on the Super Bowls ads. While watching the videos the day of the Super Bowl, I couldn’t but think to myself just how misogynistic the commercials were. Every thing seemed to want to make men believe they have been emasculated and it’s time to recapture their manhood whether it be through a loud car or the fact that they can walk around and just not wear pants.

All because they are men.

Then, I thought that would be a little easy to do. I wanted to go down a different road and I am going still going to touch on a gender issue, but marriage.

There was sentence I read on Adland.tv and it stuck with me as I watched videos on Archives.org.

“What really puzzles me is, why would CBS reject an ad for a gay dating service and then include a bunch of ads depicting how much men hate being around women. It seems the prime time for a gay dating service ad to air, in hindsight.”

There it is.

Our attitudes have not changed much when it comes to homosexual relationships in the last 50 years. Homosexuality is part of our culture, but not so much that CBS would air an ad depicting two gay men into each other. The only time homosexuality was shown was during an ad that showed Megan Fox in a bathtub and apparently she’s so hot even gay men get jealous over her.

Many of the videos from the 1950 and 60s talk about marriage and what tough and daunting task it can be. There are many instructional videos on the matter, but everyone is of a white man and woman getting married.

However, there was a video titled “It takes all kinds” that became an immediate favorite especially because it started with the narration: “Freedom of choice, a long fought for, hard-won freedom, but how many us are really prepared to fight for it?”

Well, not CBS this year.

I’m going to use some of the ads that were rejected for this year’s Super Bowl. There are a number of ads I could use that were aired, mostly showing how miserable apparently guys are in heterosexual relationships (isn’t that guys need to drive a Charger?) or just how a couple is supposed to be a man and woman.

The difficult thing would be showing a lesbian relationship. Even some of the rejected ads only show men and I don’t recall any of the aired commercials talking about women and their attitude toward relationships. If we get deeper into the Super Bowl ads, apparently women only live to emasculate men and eat vegetables.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 1, 2010 at 12:14 am

Essay on the photo essay

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There are portions of Atlantic City that aren’t seen by visitors or even those that live there. Apart from the casinos, it’s a not a town anyone would go visit. There’s corruption in the government and crime on the streets. There are also people who live under the Boardwalk and call it home. I focused most of my photo set on this.

Almost every photo has alphabetic text that I incorporated with it. These weren’t captions but supplements to the photos to help make the message clearer.

If we look at the pure image of many of the photos, there is too much left to interpretation by the receiver. So what if there is a guy smoking a cigarette on a street corner or a closed supermarket? To get the reader to look deeper and see the message I want them to see, I added alphabetic text (in certain colors and fonts), different tones and captions.

Take the pictures of the two homeless men. There are two sentences in each photo. One describes who this man was before he found his way onto the streets. The other is how outsiders view him.

The ‘homeless’ stamp is in big, Hollywood-type font and bright colors because it is the initial reaction people have when they see them. The other sentence is smaller because it usually takes people looking harder and deeper to get to the truth.

It was important to highlight what I wanted people to look in each photo. The alphabetic text is arguably more important than the photo itself. I wanted people to see how they immediately label situations and how the subjects often time view the situation.

In Visual Culture: A Reader, Roland Barthes says, “We are still a civilization of writing, writing and speech continuing to be full terms of the informational structure (p. 38).” The captions accompany the alphabetic text in the photos to explain to the reader what the signifieds are in the image and to avoid everything else in the photo.

The very first image in the set has alphabetic text that evokes a different meaning of the pure image. The connotation signifies a warm, cozy place to live, somewhere a person feels comfortable and where they are always welcome. However, the picture – which purposely is hued in sepia tones to convey sadness – is of a place under the Atlantic City Boardwalk. To most of us, this is not a home. The text is to show the dichotomy between the thought of the saying and what is actually pictured.

The last photo perhaps was the most striking and had the least work done to it. I didn’t write the alphabetic text. They are handwritten names of dead homeless people. However, it was important to make it this last photo. I showed how some of the homeless lived leading up to this photo, but there is an end to all of them, and often to early. The homeless community is tighter than many realize and the people we walk past daily have names and have people who care about them. I put the photo last because I wanted their life to be shared first before we find out how it all ends.

The pictory was also mocked up.

This was the original photo taken of the Atlantic City beach.

raw Pictory photo

It was a cold, cloudy day and doesn’t evoke a feeling of happiness, summer and wanting to splash in the blue water. I changed the hues of the picture to make the photo more vibrant and have the colors really stand out. Bright colors evoke a feeling of happiness and joy, but one has to wonder why the beach is empty on what looks like a summer day.

A place that was once happy and probably full of kids running and laughing is empty, but there are people nearby. The homeless living under the Boardwalk with probably the best view of the ocean.

Here’s a link to the entire set and Pictory.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

Let’s think for ourselves

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Advertising is a perfect example of visual rhetoric. They get you to think about what they want. The advertisers are getting their message across. This topic came up while discussing Visual Culture when the topic gravitated toward anchorage. Anchorage is text within a picture that grounds the reader into following a train of thinking.

You can take an innocuous object, include text and there is life to it.

Obviously, there are times when you see an ad and think, ‘Well, that was just ridiculous.’

But think about every ad played during the Super Bowl. Doritos, Snickers and Bud Light all conveyed the message that their product is fun and funny. By enjoying their product we don’t have to take anything too seriously. Why? Because that’s what the advertisers told us.

In class, we discussed how text with a picture gives you guidance into what the sender is trying to say. But what if that text is wrong. I’ve seen in newspapers when a caption is wrong. Why do we have to rely on other to make own opinion?

A good exercise when it comes to advertising is to look at a picture without the text. Imagine what the picture is trying to say.

Here’s an ad from Dunkin Donuts. I cropped out the words to the ad so you can see just the picture by itself. The first thing I notice is the body placement of the people. They are doing ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,’ while sitting behind a table.

There are no drinks or food on the table. Just a small vase on each.

Next, I look at what the people wearing. They are all wearing green aprons. For anyone who has visited Starbucks, this is similar to what the Starbucks baristas wear.

Clearly, Dunkin’ Donuts is mocking Starbucks, but why? They are in competition with each other. DD caters to a different crowd than Starbucks. After seeing just the picture without the text, what do you think is the ad’s message.

… I’ll wait.

Here’s the entire ad.

So, DD took Starbucks ’employees’ and they are so loyal to their company that they won’t speak bad about the coffee even though DD has superior coffee. Awesome.

Good thing I don’t drink coffee.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

February 23, 2010 at 12:03 am