What is visual culture?

For my students in Visual Rhetoric, I want us to crowdsource a definition of “visual culture.” To do this, we first must come up with some notions about culture. What is culture?

anime2Here are the groundrules: I want at least one comment from each person in the class, and this comment cannot merely agree with those that preceded it. Of course all are invited to comment more than once, reacting to other students’ definitions.

Secondly, no Googling or outside sourcing of any kind. For this to work, these definitions, like culture itself, should come only from us, out of our heads.

The deadline: Friday morning, 10 a.m., so that I have time before class to read them and draw some conclusions.

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21 Responses to What is visual culture?

  1. Amanda Dean says:

    First, culture is made up of the values, traditions and beliefs of a group of people. There can be supra- and sub-cultures: the culture of America as a whole (Christian-based religious beliefs, the idea of the American Dream, belief in democracy, etc.) would be a supra-culture, while within that larger system exist the subcultures of the many demographics that make up America (youths, African-Americans, artists, etc.).

    Visual culture would be the symbols and signs we encounter every day and the importance and interpretations that our supra- and subcultures place on them. Through a combined acknowledgement of shared beliefs, values and traditions certain images are given significant meanings without verbal cues; we are brought up to immediately recognize their significance. For instance, flags represent countries and a dove represents peace. However, these signs can have different meanings depending on through which culture/frame they are viewed.

  2. Cleve Miller says:

    Visual culture in my opinion would probably be like the culture of people (just run with it) Just like how in the south we like sweet tea the visual culture could be something similar such as plantation homes or anything in that manner. Or how big cities like to have bright colors and small rural towns are calm without all of the flashing lights. (these are all fickle examples, I have seen a few rural towns with flashing light.s)

  3. Joshua Huggins says:

    Visual Culture is the constant delivering of a message of identity or persuasion. i say this from the perspective of advertising, but not just sales advertising because in essence aren’t we all advertising with our visual culture? this is just one take on it but i think everything is a sales pitch; the outdoor name brand clothes i wear to try and buy my way into that community, the type of house my parents built to fit into their neighborhood, the guitar i chose to play in order to persuade other guitar players to like my style, or the identity i labeled myself with when i drove a jeep Wrangler. All were cultural things that i used visually to generate an image and persuade my audience to buy into my unique (or not so unique) identity.

  4. James Crawford says:

    Visual Culture = the artistic tastes and interpretation of what is aesthetically pleasing to an individual, which varies based on the surroundings and environment. But not just artistic differences are influenced by environmental differences, also the practicality of the visual statement. Based on the separate goals and purposes that need to be met by aesthetics, and the way they are interpreted within a specific locale, visual rhetoric widely varies based on classical cultural differences. The ultimate meaning of visual culture is that one visual will not be interpreted the same way in a globalized sense. There are innate differences in the way people view images because our interpretations of aesthetics and practicality stem directly from our localized cultural experiences.

  5. Elizabeth Wilson says:

    Visual Culture is representation of culture. It is something to show the actions, thoughts, beliefs, ideals, etc. of a group of individuals. Culture, to me, is defined as a group of same-thinking individuals, whether that same thought be any of the ideas I mentioned above. The visual part is demonstrating what that same thought is. When I think visual, obviously I think about seeing it, so it is seeing what the creator feels about their culture, and how they are influenced by it or maybe a reaction to a different cultural idea that they agree or disagree with.

  6. Meghan Francis says:

    Visual culture to me is how people communicate ideas, opinions, facts, art, theories etc in an aesthetically pleasing way through many different mediums. I think everything we see has a reason, a purpose for its design. The interpretation can vary with each individual however, there is always a main idea the artist is trying to get across. It can be used to persuade, inform or just admire. I believe most of our lives and perception of life is greatly impacted by what we see.

  7. Visual culture is everything we see around us. It’s the style, design, and composition of everything on earth. Generally, visual culture represents the world and everything on it. Specifically, visual culture decides what style of building will be put on the campus of Berry College. It looks at some object or image and decides, by whatever means the creator chooses for creating such, what that image or object will look like.

  8. Sourosh Amani says:

    I believe that visual culture is how people see object in their environment. The environment and the way that people have been raised are the strongest factors that decide our interpretations of objects in our society.

  9. Laura Diepenbrock says:

    Visual Culture makes up everything we see on a daily basis. It can range from the natural beauty we see simply walking around Berry’s campus, to the hundreds of images we see when we watch television. Visual Culture is limited to one definition or point of view. For instance I could look at Berry’s library and think it is a representation of beauty and warmth because of the many trees surrounding it, but when another person can looks at the library, they could see it representing knowledge and power because of the columns in front of it. Visual Culture knows no boundaries.

  10. Stephanie Carson says:

    Culture itself is a broad concept of relative beliefs, doings, styles, etc. of a society. I would assume a visual culture is one in which those tying attributes can be or are represented in a visual manner. This could be via advertisement, architecture, art aesthetics or even forms of social representation like fashion. Visual culture can act as a guidepost to social norms or history. It is the semiotic language with usage for and by a culture as a means of communication, often communicating uniqueness.

  11. Emma Harwood says:

    Culture is something that we sustain and recreate according to how we wish to identify ourselves through social means. Visual culture is a large component of this social expression of our values, priorities, purpose, etc. because it is everything we create to represent ourselves that we visually can see.

  12. Anna Smith says:

    Visual culture is the interpretation of different aspects of culture. These aspects vary between people’s beliefs, values, and traditions. Each individual expresses these aspects through the way they talk, dress, what they eat, walk, write, and learn. Where does the individual learn how to express these aspects? It depends on the culture the individual is used to. The way people interpret someone is how people view that individual. Most people want to make a first impression on someone and that first impression is a reflection of visual culture.

  13. Amanda Griswell says:

    A group of individuals with a common understanding of how to live and what to think makes up a culture. The individuals give a culture substance and meaning. Visual culture also comes from a group of people. Visual culture is the symbols and outer expression of what a culture represents. Visual culture is a representation of the what the people of a culture want to convey to those outside of the culture. The culture itself determines the meaning of what is being expressed visually.

  14. Gordie Murphy says:

    A culture is a set of understandings, practices, and values that a society commonly adopts, that has more specific subsets. Visual culture just refers to the means of interpreting and communicating the practices and etc.; it is just one means of many. Visual culture refers specifically to using images to interpret and communicate. In today’s younger generations, mentions of common memes generate a mental image. For example, upon hearing the mention of Batman, most younger people probably think of the Bat symbol or some other visual representation.

  15. kyeongeun Jung says:

    From what I have learned, culture is the combination of the beliefs, behaviors and values of people. Since modern society is high focusing on many visual texts, as we can easily access all different types of visual informations through television, internet and all kinds of media, today’s society might be called as the visual culture, I think.
    Visual culture gives us an image or a series of images before it gives us language or written texts, so that the spectators can receive information visually and have a better understanding. The interest thing is that all the people in the world have all different perspective and conception toward the same visual texts, and I think that makes the visual culture flourishes.

  16. Alicia says:

    Visual culture is a noun that identifies the way what we as a social group affects us as a culture, and, conversely, points out that our culture affects what we see as well. It is another chicken or the egg argument. Do violent video games produce violent people or do violent people produce violent video games? Do superficial magazines produce superficial people or do superficial people produce superficial magazines? Does the culture create visuals or do the visuals create the culture?

  17. Cory Pitts says:

    Culture is made up of beliefs, values and a set of moral rules with in a community. Visual culture is any picture, video, film, structure and more that illustrates the common views that a culture has. Visual culture is unique to a certain culture and can be used to differentiate groups of people and the ideas they have. For example the building we looked at in our tour had roman aspects that display the buildings roman visual culture.

  18. Gina Ciliberto says:

    Culture is the specific characteristics, traditions, and beliefs that are associated with a certain group of people. Visual culture, in my definition, is anything that we are able to see that reminds us of a certain culture. For example: if you see a dream catcher, you may think of the culture of Native Americans. Certain cultures have well known symbols; when we see these symbols we automatically think of that culture. For example: the Jewish Star, The Bald Eagle- freedom of Americans. When we see pyramids, we think of the Egyptians because pyramids were part of their architectural structures.

  19. Dean Haugen says:

    Visual culture is the way images are percieved by an audience. You see, different colors have different meanings in different societies. For example, the color white is percieved by many in the Western culture to be a pure color, whereas in parts of Asia, it is a color that represents death or a funeral. But it’s not just color choices or whatnot – it’s the image as a whole, whether it be a photo, an ad, a movie, or even a sculpture or a car. All of these images are designed to appeal to their target audiences or consumers, and since the world varies greatly, there are many different visual cultures.

  20. Lauren Hicks says:

    Visual culture is made up of the things that we see, and then in turn attach or identify with them and also catagorize them to a particular time or people. it is the movie poster that pops into your mind when you think of the best film of the ’80’s or the image of giant steps when you hear of the Mayan’s. It is made up of all of the impression’s that have left visual imprints in one’s memory bank.

  21. Takele says:

    Happy to get this interesting filds of study

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