documentary photograph

You will choose one of the documentary photographs in the folder “Image Analysis Essay Photos” and write a rhetorical analysis essay of the photo you’ve chosen. The purpose of this essay is to write about how and why a particular photograph “works” rhetorically, based on everything we have discussed in class about image analysis and rhetorical appeals.

You will need an effective introduction with a clear and precise thesis statement – in this case an analytical claim including reasons why the “text” works. Your analysis should include a description/explanation of the rhetorical context of the image (incl. purpose, original target audience, cultural/historical context, etc. – see chart 10.1 on p. 179) and the persuasive effects at play in the image (how things like people/landscapes function as subject matter; how composition elements like framing, angle/orientation, distance, scale, etc. work – see chart 10.2 on pp. 180-181; this answers the question of how the photographer builds/presents the message). If you think it will add significantly to your analysis, you may also demonstrate how rhetorical appeals (logospathosethos) are used in the image. Finally, you will need to explain how and why the image connects (or doesn’t connect) with the current audience (is the image more or less effective than it was; in what way?), including yourself.

As always, your language must be descriptive and expressive (“show, don’t tell”), but also rather objective and impersonal compared to your narrative essay. Use the simple present tense when describing persuasive effects and rhetorical appeals (what the image does, not what it did).

For this assignment, you should make use of at least 2-3 reliable sources to support your claims and provide you with background information. There is ample information available online for all of these images, and some even have their own Wikipedia entries (which contain links to various sources). All sources must be cited in MLA format on a “Works Cited” page. For more information, see the Purdue Owl website or pp. 498-511 in your text.