Tracking Viral Visual Images

Today in class, we’re building on the thinking / work you’ve done with the readings, and also your first drafts of this week’s presentation in order to see how images circulate / make visual arguments in practice. Therefore, each group will work on the image of the drowned Syrian boy who washed on the shore, recently.

Young boy washed up on the beach.

Photo credit:

This image has gone “viral” in a number ways, and is a fascinating case study (much like the Obama Hope image that Greis explores) of how images circulate.

In pairs, you will research this image together, track its circulation, and discuss what you find. You will have 15-20 minutes together to do this. Make sure to take notes as you can, and before we come back together as a class to discuss the assignment, you and your partner should make a collaborative post (include both of your names), summarizing your thoughts (categorize as “The Image That Shook The World” (it’s OK if you don’t completely finish – do the best you can, and then work to revise it for Thursday’s class). Here are some things to consider as you work:

  • What is the original context of this image (or images, since there were a series of them)? Who is the “author”? When/where/why was it taken (or created)?
  • What kind of visual imagery does it involve? What type of argument does it make (including its emotional appeal)?
  • What about the remixes of this images? What arguments / appeals are they making?
  • How did this image go “viral”? How did it circulate? Through what networks (social media & otherwise)? How did the consumers of this image become producers of new meaning?
  • What meanings did this image taken on? How was it appropriated?
  • How did you go about doing your research here? Provide us with the citations / links you are looking at.

2 thoughts on “Tracking Viral Visual Images

  1. Pingback: Class Notes 10/20 | ENG 2720: Writing with New Media

  2. Pingback: **Class Notes** | ENG 2720: Writing with New Media

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