COM 597: Visual Culture: Social Media, Reportage, and the Maker Movement

Course Description:

The accelerated growth of visual imagery across multiple digital media platforms has created a powerful social and cultural shift in communication. These days, both the average user and the trained professional share a growing schematic of non-verbal communication methods and motivations. This course will study three key areas in visual culture where the divide between high and low, amateur and professional, and creator and innovator, are being redrawn through advancement of visual skills and technical prowess. Students will gain an understanding of visual communication codes and theory, core visual design principles, the power of photography, data visualization and infographics, and how to effectively leverage and use visual elements to enhance storytelling across these three areas. There will be readings and guest lecturers from practitioners and thought leaders in the field, as well as application of visual communication theory. The class will engage in some hands-on information design and photography work, but no special equipment or graphic design skills are required.

Student Testimonial:

“Robin Avni’s class covers a range of topics involving the power of imagery; everything from the history of photography and photojournalism to the influence of visuals in social media. Not only do we gain a new appreciation for photography, but we learn about the principles and aesthetics of what it takes to create a memorable image—a great skill to have professionally and personally. For the final project, Avni allowed us so much creative freedom. It was a terrific opportunity to explore personal passions, and because of that freedom, everyone’s projects were so unique and interesting. The physical and digital world is so saturated with images—it’s hard to compete. Learning the technicalities of what truly resonates with a viewer and how a single image can tell a story was inspiring. It helped me make more deliberate decisions in the kind of visuals I use both at work and within my personal networks. Avni’s passion for photography and imagery was evident throughout the class. Her breadth of knowledge and experience is so rich. Avni also goes above and beyond for her students; her feedback was thorough and she helped individuals identify a specific challenge that would directly apply to their final project as well as work-related assignments.”

Ilona IdlisCOM 597: Visual Culture: Social Media, Reportage, and the Maker Movement
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