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Photographers: Visual Text  

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Identify the Problem & Ask Questions

How does a photographer present an argument in a visual text (image, photograph)?

How can analyzing the techniques used by the photographer help the 'reader' better understand the argument?  Intended meaning?

    Analyzing Photographs


    Assignment Specifics

    What is the best way to communicate the information?

    Write a well-developed paragraph analyzing the techniques a photgrapher uses to present an argument in a  visual text. 

      Search Strategies

      • Locate and search appropriate resources
      • Vary search terms (don't use the same search terms over and over again)
      • Think of synonyms
      • Use Boolean searching
      • Use "quotation marks" to search for exact phrases
      • Be creative
      • Search for a variety of sources - print text, video, audio, still images, speeches, interviews, charts, graphs, research and case studies, and more!

      Some search terms to try:

      • "visual text:
      • photograph
      • image


        Usernames and passwords for subscription databases and e-books are located under the Contents section of the Edline homepage.


        Print Resources: Destiny

        destiny logo

        Destiny Library Catalog

        • Log in
        • Select Catalog tab

        Recommended Titles:

        • Birmingham 1963: how a photograph rallied civil rights support
        • Breaker Boys: how a photograph helped end child labor
        • Little Rock Girl 1957: how a photograph changed the fight for integration
        • Man on the Moon: how a photograph made anything seem possible
        • Migrant Mother: how a photograph defined the Great Depression
        • Raising the Flag: how a photograph gave a nation hope in wartime

        Free Online Resources

        Take a moment to read the 'About Us' information.

        • Who is providing the information?
        • Where did the author find his/her facts, data, information?
        • What is the purpose of the site?
        • When was the site last updated?
        • What is the possible bias?
        • Digital Truth
          American Photography: A Century of Images
          Public Broadcasting System (PBS)
        • Arthur Rothstein: Tenant Farmers
          Library of Congress: American Memory
          Documenting America: Photographic Series
          Gee's Bend, Alabama, February and April 1937
          Resettlement Administration, Lot 1616
        • Arthur Rothstein: FSA Migratory Labor Camp
          Library of Congress: American Memory
          Documenting America: Photographic Series
          Visalia, California, March 1940
          Farm Security Administration, Lot 358

        • Ben Shahn: Cotton Pickers
          Library of Congress: American Memory
          Documenting America: Photographic Series
          Pulaski County, Arkansas, October 1935
          Resettlement Administration, Lot 1657
        • Dorothea Lange: Migrant Workers
          Library of Congress: American Memory
          Documenting America: Photographic Series
          Imperial Valley, California, February and March 1937
          Resettlement Administration, Lot 345

        • Gordon Parks
          Library of Congress: American Memory
          Documenting America: Photographic Series
          Washington, D.C., July and August 1942
          Farm Security Administration, Lot 156
        • Manuel Alvarez Bravo
          Museum of Modern Art: Photography
          Online Exhibitions and Projects
          **Scroll down to select 'essay' and 'photos'
        • Robert Capa: Reporting America at War
          Public Broadcasting System (PBS)
        • Yousuf Karsh
          Early photographs, on assignment, and portraits


        When you use someone else's words, work, thoughts, and/or ideas, you need to give the person credit. It doesn't matter whether you quote the person word-for-word or put it in your own words (paraphrase), you need to acknowledge where the words, work, thought, or idea originated. Otherwise, you are passing it off as your own.

        Be responsible.

        Be honest.

        Show integrity.


        Record Bibliographic Information

        Don't forget to record the following for each source you use:

        • Author/creator
        • Title of article, chapter, film, webpage
        • Page number
        • Name of magazine, newspaper, journal, book, website
        • Publication date
        • Name of subscription database (if used)
        • Format (web, print)
        • Date of access (if found online)


        • NoodleTools
          NoodleTools is a bibliographic software tool to assist you in creating accurate source citations in MLA and APA formats.

        Citation Resources

        LMS/Teacher Tools


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