essay writing ideas

“ Some general writing techniques to use and apply to all essays. ”

Finding Interesting Images for Image Analysis Essays

An image analysis essay is different from most other essay types in that it does not have a ‘topic’ in the traditional sense. The purpose of the essay is to analyze an image and translate what you see into words. This is the type of assignment that can be very simple at the grade school level or very complex at the graduate level. In addition, you may not be analyzing a single image but a series of images that together tell a story. If you are given the choice, here are some places from which you can source an image for analysis:

Art galleries

There are many works of art that are evocative and can be analyzed from historical, psychological, geographical and many other vantage points. By selecting artwork that is painted rather than photographed you also have the ability to interpret fantasy worlds that have never existed. This stretches your abilities as a writer and shows how well you can analyze something that is in no way straightforward.

Magazine and Newspaper Advertisements

Magazines tend to have very rich imagery in their advertisements. Newspapers are somewhat more tame but still a good source for advertisements and slightly easier to access and cheaper. This becomes an issue because you will most likely be asked to include the image you are analyzing with the analysis essay.

News Photographs

Some of the most poignant photography has come out of the news industry. War time correspondents capture extremely evocative single shots that can tell stories that you will have no difficulty analyzing. Be sure you put in some additional research so that your first impression of what you see does not blind you to deeper realities.

Graphic Novels and Comic Strips

For the purpose of your essay you would be better off selecting a section of the strip that contains few words if any. This can give you an opportunity to narrow down your essay to a very specific theme.

No matter what source you decide to derive your image from, be certain that you pick something that will not offend your reader. Extremely graphic images or those with explicit sexual content may not go over well with all readers. On the other hand, some readers may respond better to more provocative images. Try not to bore these with milder images but if you yourself are offended by many of the images they would enjoy, do your best to find a happy medium.

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