Thursday, 1 March 2007

The role of reflection

Putting together an essay for Heat magazine, I felt it was important to include images of the novels I was discussing. I thought the most logical way of doing this was to insert the images below the title of the book, but before the descriptive text. It was pointed out to me by Sally McLaughlin that the conventional protocol for academic papers is to insert the image somewhere in the text after you have begun talking about it. The fact that I had broken this protocol shows an (unconscious) consideration of the importance of 'reading' the image before the descriptive text. On reflection, I consider why I thought an image-first approach was most logical: 1. showing vs telling is a more immediate way to describe something visual, and 2. I wanted the reader to be able to see the example as they were reading about it (not afterwards).

Charles William Hatfield's PhD thesis, 'Graphic interventions: Form and argument in contemporary comics' starts with a note discussing the problem of inserting "visual quotes" (examples of the comics being discussed):

"positioning this quoted material within the body of the text has proved a challenge. There is not entirely pleasing way to do so, as punctuating the text with images tends to fragment the reading. This fragmenting, I would argue, activates different protocols of reading and makes for a tension-filled experience, somewhere between reading a traditional written text and reading comics per se." (p.vii)

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