In what ways are people and their experiences brought to life through the distinctively visual? Make detailed reference to your prescribed text and at least one other related text.
The distinctive quality of the visual relies on its potential to provoke some sort of emotion from the responders. Naturally, powerful visuals evoke emotions of fascination, sadness, anger, or will inspire an audience. Visual images, like all texts are produced for specific purposes and audiences and can therefore be either negative or positive.Through the distinctive features produced in the television show “Sea Change” and the iconic black and white image of the ‘the girl in the picture’ it is obvious that the visuals are brought to life when viewed by an audience, allowing an emotional response. The television series “Sea Change” is a reputable show that is particularly suited to the study of distinctively visual texts. Through two episode in particular ‘playing with fire’ and ‘mana from heaven’ it is evident that the events of the show are brought to life and we as a viewer can experience them first-hand.
In the Episode titled ‘Playing with Fire’ Laura and Max are the two main protagonists in the scene Marco Polo. In this scene we learn about their developing attraction to each other through the distinctively visual techniques. The scene starts when Max finds Laura having a midnight dip, relieving her tension caused by the current heat wave. As he walks out onto the dock there is silence, all that is heard are Max’s footsteps, crickets and the sound of the ocean, these create tension between them. Max looks down upon Laura, this is apparent through the low angle he is shot at creating a sense of power leaving Laura feeling somewhat vulnerable.The two converse for a short while, until the game Marco Polo is brought up.
When Max says “do you want to play? ” the audience is left to interpret whether it was said with figurative or literal intention. The scene progresses and as the two provocatively splash around in the water the social distance that was previously between them becomes less and less predominant. A soft and sensual song is playing in the background adding to the intensity and intimacy of the scene. It is dark and the only source of light is provided from the moon, creating a romantic mood and highlighting the developing attraction to each other.
The distance between them decreases and the medium shots develop into a range of close ups, enabling us to see their facial expressions. At this point they are just inches away from each other, gazing into each other’s eyes. It is clear that the couple are ‘playing with fire’ in the figurative sense by pursuing this hot and steamy relationship. It is through these distinctively visual techniques that Max and Laura’s experiences are brought to life, enabling the audience to feel a sense of connectedness to them and the events that unfold in this particular scene.In the second episode, ‘Mana from Heaven’, the opening scene features Kevin’s dream sequence. This scene begins with a medium range shot of an unknown cloaked women walking, with Kevin following close behind, the image is blurred as is the woman’s speech, and it is these features that give the scene a dream like quality.
The visual techniques used in the scene bring Kevin’s experience of guilt to life. Kevin is shot at a high angle, opposed to the cloaked woman being shot at a low angle emphasising the power of the woman and the defencelessness of Kevin.The woman then says “you have deceived the universe Kevin” proceeding with a close up of Kevin’s face, allowing a clear view of his facial expressions of shock and confusion to how this woman knew his name, bringing his experience of fear and guilt to life through the distinctive visuals of this scene. In the same way, the event of the young girl Kim Phuc is brought to life through the distinctiveness of this photographic image. The Vietnam War “Girl in Picture” photograph depicts the image of young 9 year old girl running away from a bomb explosion, whose clothes have been burnt off by the fire.
The focal point of the image is the young girl whose arms are outstretched and face is screaming in pain. This iconic image breaks the rule of the thirds as the young girl is situated in the direct centre of the frame and thus becomes the focal point of the image. The immediate emotion evoked when viewing this horrific image is one of extreme sadness and disgust, the use of colour is highly effective in displaying the sad and horrific nature of the event. The photo is black and white, with no use of colour, reflecting the morbidity of the situation.
The vision of the utter terror and pain on the young children’s faces evokes feelings of shock. Finally, even though the soldiers are positioned in the background of the photo, they are still at a higher angle than all the other children in the frame, symbolising the insignificance of the children and the superiority of the soldiers. The repetition of the expression or terror and pain in each of the children’s faces is once again symbolic and reflective of the horrendous and devastating scene at hand.Through the distinctive features used in this image the heart wrenching experience that Kim Phuc had undergone has been brought to life provoking emotions of horror in those people who saw this photographic. Both “Sea Change” and “The Girl in Picture” are able to evoke an emotive response from the audience whether it be positive of negative, therefore they both possess distinctively visual qualities.
These distinctive qualities are produced through a variety of techniques which enable these texts to bring the people and experiences presented within them to life.