Text within an image


Look at the visual in the 2008 VCAA English exam available at http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vce/studies/english/englishexams.aspx

Tips for analysis

When focusing on visual techniques, it can be easy to ignore the written aspects of a visual, but often these are important. Whether it is a heading, narration, dialogue, or something else, text in an image can help to identify the subject matter, contention and tone of the piece.

In the example from the 2008 VCAA exam, text in the form of dialogue, lettering on a wall clock and writing on a t-shirt are useful for analysis. The t-shirt helps to identify the donkey as a representation of an abusive parent while the dialogue reinforces the message of the piece; parents who behave in this manner are distracting and annoying for everyone around them. The writing on the scoreboard is an additional feature which helps to reinforce that the setting is a young person’s basketball game.

Remember that captions or in-text references to a visual should also be considered in your visual analysis. Often captions will dictate tone: sometimes they offer a sarcastic comment about the visual suggesting that they do not support what it is portraying as could first be assumed.