Visual Culture Essay

Topics: Sociology, Social relation, Social behavior Pages: 9 (3181 words) Published: April 30, 2013
Visual Culture
Visual culture is wisely considered to be a field of study which focuses on all aspects of culture which rely on visual images. Visual technology undeniably has a central importance in the contemporary culture. It plays a phenomenally important role in enhancing our visual capability and helps us in perceiving myriad cultural beliefs in addition to guiding us when managing behavior, values, and social relationships. Visual culture is based on a wide range of mediums which serve as core visual components and foster visual imagery in human minds like video games, internet, advertisements, comics, and media. These visual media play an essential role in deciding how we behave when dealing with others and performing various tasks. They also play a big role in deciding what kind of attitude we develop for our values and how we manage and develop social relationships in practical terms. While different visual media have been examined independently, “there is now a need to interpret the postmodern globalization of the visual as everyday life” (Mirzoeff, 1999, p. 3). The power of visuality is enormous in many aspects. It is an undeniable reality that visual culture specifically visual imagery in the form of different advertisements, comics, television plays, and internet has a lot to do with almost all actions we take in everyday life which is why contemporary culture is widely considered to be a visual culture. “Visual culture does not depend on pictures themselves but the modern tendency to picture or visualize existence” (Mirzoeff, 1999, p. 5). The ability to interpret visual information is so remarkable that it is claimed to serve as “the basis of industrial society and is becoming even more important in the information age” (Mirzoeff, 1999, p. 5). Visual imagery can play such an enormous role in our lives many times that it could hold us back from doing things or taking actions which we would if there is no fear of being imaged or seen by others. It is true when said that “it is the sense of being watched that constrains social action” (Mirzoeff, 1999, p. 45). Mirzoeff is trying to imply here that modern technology not only interacts with public life in multiple ways but also influences our daily decisions as already mentioned. In fact this interaction is so huge in terms of internet used and television daily watched etc. that one cannot remain oblivious to it. This essay is primarily based on contemplating the effects produced by visual images on managing behavior, values, and relationships. Throughout this essay I will discuss the role played by modern technology in our daily lives and explore multiple ways in which visual imagery prompts us and restricts us to perform any activity or in any social relation basically identifying the benefits offered by visual images. I will also make use of examples augmenting my argument to discuss how and why visual culture holds such fundamental importance in our lives presently. General consensus is that visual images form a rich and dense source of cultural information and encode the obvious relationship between culture and behavior management. The trend towards dominance of image continues to foment with the rise of visual reality and the Internet “combined with the global popularity of television, videotape, and film” (Mirzoeff, 1999, p. 9). A culture dominated by visual has often been criticized to be second-rate and this criticism has long history “for there always has been a hostility to visual culture in Western thought. All such criticism implies that a visually dominated culture must be impoverished or even schizophrenic” (Mirzoeff, 1999, pp. 9-10). Presence of visual images is so profound now thanks to the Internet facility available everywhere at quite cheap rates that many systems have started depending solely on different visual mediums. “Internet has come to function as a commodity-delivery system for vastly expanded media companies” (Stratton, cited in...
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