Visual Rhetoric

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Paige Makuch October 18, 2012
AP Language and Composition Green Day, Period 2
Visual Rhetoric

In this piece of visual rhetoric, there is a very strong message conveyed. Depicted in the medium are lips, very disturbing lips. The creator of this piece uses image to connect to the viewer visually, expressing a very serious tone. Image is a very powerful tool; it makes the author more credible and the audience more apt to agree and believe. The creator of this image intends to affect its viewers in a powerful way: through surprise and contrast, and it is well executed. The viewer of the image should look at it and ponder its meaning. No words accompany this picture, permitting the viewer to have free interpretation. However, the core message is clear. The core message is about smoking.

The design of this anti-smoking advertisement is very intriguing, being a cropped picture of a woman’s bright red lips. They are not normal lips; they are lips with a black hole through them, as if burned by a cigarette. The image is composed so that the viewer’s eyes are drawn right to the hole, a stain in perfection. The bright, cherry lipstick contrasted with the revolting, charcoal hole—placed right where a cigarette would sit—appalls the viewer. This placement was very effective in conveying a message about smoking. In the background of the picture there is a pore less, porcelain-like skin surrounding the lips. This, coupled with the red lips, only makes the woman appear even more perfect, despite the gaping, metaphorical hole in her lips. Light is used to brighten the picture, contrasting with the hole as well. Light is often utilized to symbolize hope and knowledge, ideas that smoking is not associated with. There are subtle shadows sitting in the corners of the woman’s mouth and below her lower lip, making the picture even more realistic. The viewer’s eyes move from the focal point (the burn hole) to the red lips, and then to the perfect skin,...
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