Reading response 4 A new picture

Last week’s reading, an article by Charles A. Hill, The Philosophy of Rhetorical Images, is a discussion of how images associated with content impact the thoughts and potentially even actions of the viewer. Hill is arguing in this article that images associated with content alter the meaning and effect of the content it is juxtaposed with. He says that when an image is used alongside content, the image conjures a stronger reaction than of that called for by the content itself.

One thought that I felt was not explored in this article is that the image is influenced by the ideas of the content. Although the image with the content is more powerful than the content alone, it only seems appropriate to consider how the ideas the image is conveying are altered by the content it represents. Just as the image adds meaning to the content, the content ascribes meaning to the image including masking perhaps the original message of the image.

This image seams harmless and even cute when it stands by itself, but what message would it send if it was used in conjunction with a message like this:

“Baby Chow Baby Food Company has issued a recall on all fall flavors of ‘Second Steps Baby Chow’ including Pumpkin Vanilla, Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato, and Turkey and Gravy due to potential salmonella contaminants. Please discard product immediately! A refund or replacement is available at retailer with receipt.”

The image, in this case, personifies the threat this contaminated food poses, but the message the image sends is vastly different now than before it was associated with a health threat.