Reflective visual literacy: far more than meets the eye
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The commonly accepted notion that a picture is worth a thousand words paradoxically places greater communicative value on images than on spoken or written language. Ironically, a lingering precedence of letters and numbers over images still characterize “enlightened” contemporary discourse, in spite of many claims that we live in a society dominated by the visual. This article explores the hermeneutics of photographs and visual images on a conceptual level, touching on issues such as validity of interpretation, the fallacy of a universally understood and pictorial language and the distinction between functional visual literacy and nuanced reflective visual literacy. Finally it makes a case for including visual literacy as part of the formal curricula at school and at tertiary level.