"...two media historians-drawing upon years of detailed research-have compiled a definitive anthology. Clearly, Using Visual Evidence presents a unique interpretation of historical analysis where thirteen writers, under the editorship of Richard Howells and Robert W. Matson, offer strong ideas about a subject that is often overlooked...With numerous illustrations, meticulous case studies, and selective photographs, Using Visual Evidence - a welcome breath of fresh air - is a wonderful addition to media studies." Film and History What do we mean by 'visual evidence'? How should we interpret visual texts, and what can they tell us? Why is 'visual literacy' so important and what benefits does it offer? Visual evidence encompasses a diverse range of media, from painting, cartoons and photography, to film, television and documentary. The central argument of this book is that visual evidence is a key to understanding both history and the present day and should not be relegated to a supporting role as merely illustrating the written word. The book shows students, scholars and researchers how to read the visual media to elicit meaning.
As primary sources, visual texts can be studied not only for what is directly depicted in the painting or film but also for what it tells us about the people, cultures and societies that made them. Each chapter features fascinating case studies and examples which situate theory in real life. A major appeal of the book is the wealth of illustrations and photographs of visual texts which are included throughout. The authors make detailed reference to these examples to illustrate the theory surrounding visual evidence. An intriguing case study of an unknown girl's photo album is just one of many examples offered, showing how we can analyze and learn from the visual text. This comprehensive and insightful edited collection brings together international media and cultural theorists, historians and art historians to demonstrate the value of visual evidence not only to media and cultural studies, but also to history, the general humanities and the social sciences.
Dr Richard Howells is Reader in Cultural and Creative Industries at King's College, London, UK, where he is also Director of the Centre for Cultural, Media and Creative Industries Research.
Professor Robert W. Matson is Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, USA.