Carrie Markello


Visual culture is prevalent in almost every aspect of our lives. We take photos with our cell phones, read magazines brimming with full color images, visit art museums, download streaming video, watch MTV, and scan street signs to find our favorite fast food restaurant. One hundred years ago, except for visiting art museums and reading magazines, these activities were nonexistent. As the twentieth century progressed, visual culture has increasingly been disseminated through new technological developments. In the sixties, Marshall McLuhan forecasted the impact of media upon our changing world. "The medium or process, of our time-electronic technology-is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life" (1967, p.9). As the transmission of visual culture continues to "reshape" our personal as well as our communal identities (Freedman & Stuhr, 2004), it is important to acknowledge and understand visual culture's role in our lives. Recognizing the resulting shift and change brought about by the proliferation of imagery in our world, Tavin (2003), described visual culture as a "present-day condition where images playa more central role in the construction of consciousness and the creation of knowledge than in the past" (p. 204).


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