Visual images are texts to be read. The types of visual media are varied. They can be moving, such as a film, or still images. Still images include photography, paintings, doodles, and graphics. Visual analysis researchers the producers and consumers of images. Psychoanalytic theory focuses on the representations of images. A content analysis will look at images as a contextual narrative. Semiotic analysis relates what is signified by images as signs. The chapter also describes photo-elucidation and memory work. These methods use photographs (or other images) to stimulate conversation on memories of participants. Photo-elucidation may be useful within a questionnaire, especially some photographs of damaged rock art sites.
Another interesting idea that I had not considered prior to reading this chapter is participant mapping. This method provides visual data from the perspective of the participant. For my thesis research, I would like to use structured observations and have considered each observer mapping the space as a participant. The chapter finishes with a discussion on ethics. The ethical considerations of visual analysis relate to protecting the anonymity of persona who may be in the photographs, as well as publishing and copyright issues.
For me personally, I find that there are many facets of visual analysis that are relevant to consider, as much of human computer interaction, and user experience is visual based, or especially when it isn’t. For example, with screen reader technology.
Notes from Ali, S. (2012). Visual Analysis. In C. Seale (Ed.), Researching Society and Culture (3rd ed, p. 283-). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
“Rock Art Vandals: An Assessment of Public Interactions with Archaeological Resources.” Research presented at the Anthropology Research Symposium, Humboldt State University, March 24, 2016.
This project studied the public opinions and discussion of the effects contemporary humans have at archaeological rock art sites in the United States. Preservation of rock art sites is attempted by a perpetual separation of visitors, by creating physical barriers at sites, or keeping site locations a secret. Little has been done, however, to assess public access to information relating to site locations and preservation information. This project utilized open-ended questionnaires to assess the opinions of the online rock-art community in relation to this topic. These opinions were compared with the content in public texts to assess the public accessibility of information. This research represents the potential of an affiliated public to make a significant contribution to the discussion on rock art site preservation and public interaction.
Modeling the thoughts and beliefs of ancient persons is an arduous calling for archaeologists, as this data falls into the intangible realm. Often the most direct material link to the ancient mind is found in rock art. With resilience to the elements and time, rock surfaces presented an ideal canvas for the lasting expressions of past cultures. Many of these sites, however, have been damaged or compromised due to invasive recording practices. Researchers and tourists continue to utilize outdated methods, as a result of misinformation or naivety on the subject. A non-invasive, conservation-based approach to rock art recording is presented, with the intention of diminishing unintentional site vandalism. Symbols of headdresses, messengers, and lobed circles appear across differing chronological and regional rock art style categories. These elements are often interpreted in relation to altered states of consciousness and ceremony. The petroglyph panel at the Spirit Bird Cave site in southeastern Utah provides evidence of all three of these elements, and is thus well suited for this project. This poster presents the current status of the project, with a discussion of methods and preliminary field results. This project combines standard and innovative methods of field mapping, lighting and close-range photogrammetry to produce visual models which can be analyzed in a laboratory setting without concern for panel damage. These visual models can expand access to immovable data such as rock art, allowing researchers a truly non-invasive approach.
This poster was selected for the People’s Choice Award for Best Student Poster Presentation in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, at Humboldt State University IdeaFest, 2014
“Meme and My Friends: The Dynamics of Merry-making,” November 29, 2012
Collaborative poster presented at the 2012 Anthropology Undergraduate Research Symposium, Humboldt State University. Presented by Casey Dobbins, Jaqueline Farrington, Racheal Marte-Taylor, Cherilyn Neider and Nikki Martensen