Visual Literacy and You

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Film blogger, Tony Zhou, recently published a video breakdown of Michael Bay’s signature style, which he hilariously refers to as ”Bayhem.” As a lover of cinema, I watched with rapt attention as Zhou broke down the technical elements that characterize films like Transformers – rotating shots, multiple moving elements, low angles, etc.

He’s not a fan because Bay’s belief that more is more runs counter to his own tastes. Bay doesn’t just rotate the camera around the subject. He has the subject counter rotate while standing up from a crouched position to emphasize movement and epic-ness. Creating an epic shot without reason (other than “because I can”) leaves us with a story devoid of substance and meaning. The piece had me nodding the whole time, but it wasn’t until 7:21 where things really clicked for me.

https://vimeo.com/99798626

Zhou opines, “But in the end, I think the popularity of this style is hugely important. Whether we like it or not, the interesting thing here is that we’re really visually sophisticated, and totally visually illiterate. We can process visual information at a speed that wasn’t common before. But thinking through what an image means? Not so much.”

I’ve challenged the concept of visual literacy before. I previously wrote:
"As more people become “photographers,” the more they will come to appreciate photography through regular (often daily) consumption. Flipping through Facebook or Instagram immediately reveals “good” and “bad” photos. And as a consumer devours more photography, they will ideally start to discern between “good” and “great” and all the shades in between."
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