required reading

a playful speculative tool for education in visual literacy

publication | research | reflection | education | speculation 

an exercise example to practice your skills in visual literacy

required reading is a part of my graduation work from rietveld academy. i still keep it in my portfolio because it was an important work that allowed me to come closer to my own understanding of the medium i chose to work with. when i was on the final stages of my studies, i believed in the power of photography to be a universal language that everyone can understand. slightly naive, immature and idealistic assumption led to my research on visual language and has resulted in a book i called required reading. this book became a guideline for me to realize the complexity of an image and allowed to dive into it without fear or hesitation. i dissected the medium in a very playful manner, demystifying  its structure and making the knowledge about it  accessible for others.   

naturally we all have some knowledge of how to read images. we can seperate the real world from the depicted one. we are not really learning how to do it, but in the process of socialisation we are learning how to understand and react to images. some of them have become so integrated in our daily life that we can hardly ignore them. for example, pictograms or signs which are used commonly in public. warning signs, public places signs, restriction signs, instruction signs and statistical graphs have become so familiar to us that we would recognise their purpose any time. today the problem of visual literacy becomes quite important due to visual information overload. understanding the implications of images makes the viewer more resistant to the manipulative uses of images today. I see the possibilities to better understand an image and be able to read it and generate meaning as a critical reflection on today's reality. we should realise that we can't trust just our perception, but we should include our mind to be able to get the whole picture of what we see as visual information. In my book required reading I'm introducing the mechanics of visual information processing and aiming to find a universal system of image reading, using sets of visual examples, based on my free interpretations and personal views and ideas. 

take your time and go through the book in your own pace. it is full of jolly examples and exercises in visual literacy which touch upon serious topics in light and unpretentious fashion. you can download the chapters by following the buttons.