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Brandon 1 Jamie Brandon English 101-11 Dr.

Bethany Shepherd 3 February 2014 When Pictures Preach There is a notion that resides within humans that pictures communicate much more universally than words. Humans have umpteen different ways for communicating, yet globally, we find more meaning within pictures. Combining words and pictures gives a clear argument, but when words are stripped away, the image can give multiple possible arguments. The meaning of an image is no longer limited to what the author claims, for the reader can interpret his own meaning--possibly a very different one. A picture, what humanity thinks is easily understood, can be controversial. An individuals beliefs and values affect their perception of images. I had just been released from my class in Peele Hall on Adrians campus. Walking from the North East side of campus, I came upon the back of the Chapel. There, right in front of me, was probably the largest icicle Ive seen in my entire life. It clings--or rather, proudly sits--on the back of the church, as if aware of how heavily it is rooted there. It mirrors the form of the structure above it: an inverse, a counterpart. Farther above, a blue sky prevails over a mainly gray background, a white cross interrupting the blue for just a moment. Sleeting snow crosses near the bottom of the photograph. I can remember shivering as I reached for my camera. It couldnt have been more than ten degrees. Steady I thought to myself, refusing to adjust the exposure. I wanted the photo to be as accurate of a representation for reality as pictures can be. With a click, the image was mine. After some thought, two very different arguments can be drawn with relatively equal

Brandon 2 evidence from the picture. Either Christ is constantly watching from above, holding a promise of blue skies over the ice that presently engulfs humanity, or Christ has lost control of His creations, shown as the ice asserts its dominance over the house of God. When believers see this picture, they may think about the safety God gives. Believers might see a promise in the clear blue skies that lie above the icy fortress below. Author Pavel Zemliansky claims that, Emotional appeal in the photograph is achieved through its color scheme (217). Because believers focus on the blue, they feel optimistic or hopeful. The ice may be on the outside of the church, but they trust the inside is safe, warm, and comfortable. They trust that God will deliver them from uncomfortable situations, like Winter, to a springtime filled with clear, blue skies and warmth. Because the cross is situated as the highest point in the picture, they see Him in power and control. God is almost looking down on all of his creation on Earth, watching it and keeping it safe. In terms of height, God overpowers the icicle in the lower half--a possible metaphor for sin or the Devil. Sin clings to whatever it can get a grasp on--or maybe proudly sits there. Just as sin can lie outside a body, like a person with sinful friends, the ice and cold surround the church. With God on the inside, sin cannot penetrate the fortress. The individual can live a clean life with Christ protecting him, just as the church can maintain its cleanliness through God. As long as the inside is toasty, a haven from the sinful cold, humanity has hope. To a believer, God is in control. Yet, an atheist sees something extremely different from this piece of work. Rather than assuming the inside of the church is warm and fresh, and atheist might see a worn down, unkempt facility once used for worship. When summer is present, people are happy and warm. They do not feel the icy grip of sin, so they are grateful to God for their warmth and safety. When Winter usurps the throne, suddenly people begin to lose faith. Sin draws close and picks

Brandon 3 away at those with little faith until they succumb, forgetting about their home with the Lord. So the place of worship is left with few, until the last who remains also perishes, spiritually. The church is then left alone, with no one to take care of the building. Winter shows no sign of release, as seen in the sleet in the bottom. This creeps upwards, compounding the ice with a wet chill. Neither does the Devil find an excuse to ease his endeavors. Where is God, one might ask? Upon the cross, of course--but notice where the cross is looking. Christ does not stare the Devil down. The cross faces a completely different direction: the front of the church. Located so far above, people may begin to question whether or not He can see the icicle, the creeping sin, that is beginning to surround all. A photographer herself, Molly Bang tries to identify what criteria a good picture will have and what kind of arguments can be produced. In her article, she states, We associate size with strength (239). The cross is miniscule, especially in comparison to the sin-icicle. To the eye, God is portrayed as having little to no power, simply because of his size. Lastly, the only source of color in the picture comes from above. Nature brings the sense of warmth and hope, while Gods cross is a pasty white and His house is neutral. The eye is naturally drawn to nature rather than mans buildings to commemorate God. Which leads to another point: all of these apparitions of God are really a mans idea of what God is. There is no guarantee that this is an accurate representation. Man puts God at the highest point, above all of our fears and catastrophes of our everyday life. Is man an accurate authority? Not at all. Will there ever be an accurate authority? I dont think so. There is absolutely no guarantee that God is above, watching, rather than walking around among us. Maybe, the picture shows that mans attempts to overcome sin and the cold are rather impractical. Notice the green eaves that are created to aid in the flow of water away from the roof. There is no water, only ice. Mans attempts to rid himself of sin do not function unless

Brandon 4 under the perfect conditions (water). While he can keep sin outside his body, it sits on his skin, ready to sink in at a moments notice. This picture gives adequate support for believers and atheists. Yet, it does not draw a complete conclusion. Instead, it leaves itself for the interpretation of the reader, who will (perhaps subconsciously) frame their vision so it supports their previous beliefs. Neither the atheist nor the believer can claim a definite proof for or against the existence of God, just as the picture, a representation of reality, cannot provide enough information for a one-sided, clear answer. A believer sees God in control because that is what he believed before viewing the photo. An atheist sees God as oblivious and useless, questioning His existence, because that is what he believed before. Humans have a frame set in the mind already. We see what we wish to see from the picture; we see what confirms our beliefs.

Brandon 5 Works Cited Bang, Molly. "Picture This: How Pictures Work." Everything's A Text: Readings for Composition. Ed. Dan Melzer. 1st ed. New York City: Pearson, 2011. 227-244. Print. Pavel, Zemliansky. "Literacy Is Not Just Words Anymore." Everything's A Text: Readings for Composition. Ed. Dan Melzer. 1st ed. New York City: Pearson, 2011. 210-218. Print.

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