3/20: Audience Studies & Visual Methods

Please post a question as a comment or reply below.




  1. By a researcher observing things that occur from the outside of where they want to observe, how does this effect their research and what effect does this have on the participants?

  2. On page 271 Rose states, “fans are audience members who are paying a particular kind of very careful attention to a TV show, so careful and also so committed that they can design an artwork, or a replica costume or a Lego animation, based on a detailed understanding of that show.” Therefore does being a fan mean that they are a better fit as a researcher or do they have a certain bias?

  3. In regards to recontextualisation, Rose writes, “In its social life and travels, an object passes through different cultural contexts which may modify or even transform what it means” (286). How does the meaning change? Is the change of meaning from the actual media that the object comes from or from the viewer’s perception?

  4. On page 268 Rose discusses the the relationship between the “producers” of media and the “receivers” of media. Rose saw this relationship as a “linear” process through which meaning was transmitted, from the producer to the audience consistently and easily. Rose later brings up an alternative method of analysis in his section on “encoding.” This basically refers to the idea of audience members decoding the professional and dominant codes of our generation that the producers make known and apparent.

    My question has to do with the visual method itself: Is encoding a more effective way to communicate with an audience?

    I think Rose would agree considering that he said “A code is a set of conventionalized ways of making meaning that is specific to a particular group of people. If one considered this true, wouldn’t one be able to safely assume that encoding is the most effecting way for a producer to communicate with an audience because of its conventional and easily relatable/understandable basis?

  5. On page 270 Rose states, “…someone becomes a fan ‘not by being a regular viewer of a particular program but by translating that viewing into some kind of cultural activity, by sharing feelings and thoughts about the program content with friends, by joining a community of other fans who share common interests.'” By this definitiion is it fans that make programs most successful or is it merely the audience? I would think building a culture around a program is ultimately what makes it so successful and imagine that programs strive to gain and maintain fans.

  6. Max Crowell

    I was intrigued by the photo-documentation/elicitation/essay portion of the reading. I thought of a documentary I had seen a while back, titled “War Photographer” which is about a man who documents war and poverty around the world.

    Here is a link to the documentary:

    Be cautioned, there are scenes of death, suffering and other explicit photos throughout the film. If you are still interested, I recommend watching minutes 31-41, 58-1:01, and 1:08-1:15. (1:08-1:12 is an interesting look at an analog version of “photoshopping” an image)

    This film can be seen as a photo-documentation or photo-essay due to the nature of said photos throughout the film, “interpreting a social situation or problem,” and because the researcher (James Nachtwey, the war photographer) has presented us (the viewers) with, “a carefully planned series of photographs to analyze a particular visual phenomenon,” (Rose, 298). In this case war.

    Although this is a documentary, not still just images (although the “Ken Burns effect” is used a lot thought the documentary), do you think this method of photo-documentation/essay is useful and/or effective in making a point? Can it be?

    Also read the last two sentences on page 326 in Rose.

    Dan, I will attempt to make it to class tomorrow. We have spoken about a prior engagement I am attending.

  7. Photo-documantation is an xpremely interresting an innovative way of conducting research, although it is not a very popular one.
    the idea of taking an compleltey uneditied image and assuming that it is an axxurate record of a time period is something taht not many do.What is the reasoning brhind photo-documentation bring a rare form of documentation. Does it have something to do with the way that view photographs as a stagnant image that doesnt change (this being the very reason we are drawn to them) and our ideas of change.
    and in thinking about photography, what is the purpose of photographs in todays culture?
    Has the shift from from something to allow memories to live one and an art form, to the current position of allowing others to “know” what you are doing all the time ( and the ability to alter ones photo) create an atmosphere where photo-documentation is no longer possible or a valid research form?

  8. Recontextualisation really got me thinking in this chapter. If an objects meaning can change just because of the context it is put into then essentially what surrounds the object is just as important as the object itself. This puts a lot of importance on museums and how they decide to display pieces of art.

    In terms of pervious discussions, recontextualisation could have been used when we talked about the pictures from last week on the virtual discussion. Some of the meanings of those pictures have changed because they were being displayed through a different medium than they were originally intended. Also the book that was presented on “this is not a pipe” also uses ideas from recontextualisation.

    What about context changes the meanings of an object? Also what changes the meaning more the physical context around the object or the context of a different viewer?

  9. Within the context of television, how does the viewer see the actor’s identity? Do they incorporate the character they are portraying as well? (Makes me think of how we refer to some television actors by their character names)

  10. Photo-eliciting is the idea of inserting photos into a research interview to get a better understanding of what certain people notice about everyday life. On page 310, Rose talks about the process of giving the participant a camera and directing them to what to look for in their everyday life. The process includes developing the photos and then reviewing them with the interviewer. Could you argue that through Facebook and Instagram, we conduct these photographic interviews everyday? In other words, we use social media to show people what is important to us, so to conduct an interview like this, could you just take photographs from someone’s profile?

  11. When understanding the discourse of an image, there are many ways to interpret and understand them. We now understand that we can even use more than one method so that our discourse analysis of the work is unique to all others, but my question is is it possible to use and mix only parts of analysis? That is, can you only examine certain aspects and answer certain questions of a work under different methods to analyse or would that be frowned upon because you are not examining the work as a whole?

  12. The idea of photo-elicitation, as a new technique for interviewing, shows the transition of our culture to being more visual. Photography and the use of cameras is not the same as five years ago. Throughout my lifetime the understanding of photographs have changed from being manually developed, to digital cameras, and now to camera phones. A different meaning arises if pictures are developed than if someone instagrams a photo they took on their phone. Could you say that the camera itself has been recontextualised?

  13. On pages 293 and 294, Rose talks about contextualization and mobility of shows and images across different mediums. She says that it is presumably correct to say that a show is different when it is watched on an iPad vs. watched on a television because of the context. Earlier she talks about the audience’s background as shaping the specific television show. Audience members may have different perceptions or understandings of a show based on the context of where/when it is viewed and based on their personal background, but do you agree that the whole show is different?

  14. In Gillian Rose’s “Visual Methodologies”, Rose discusses the distinction between an audience, a fan and a user. While I was reading, this section reminded me of the conversation in my COMM 125: Introduction to Media, Technology and Culture class about convergence culture. The author uses the Doctor Who franchise as an example. When it comes to franchises such as Doctor Who or Harry Potter, i feel that this discussion of the audience, fans and users would be good to apply. I think that fans are the ones who are not watching their favorite television shows or movies, but they go as far as getting all of the franchise merchandise to even meeting the actors of the films in person. The following questions that I would like to bring up are: Do you agree that both the audience and fans are considered as users? What are some the factors or components that define a user? How is the audience “consuming”? Is it safe to say that the audience are considered users because of encoding and decoding messages that they are presented from the media or do you think it is something else?

  15. To add on to Omar’s question of what about people talking about TV characters as if they were real? I think that it a really good point because with TV shows especially reality shows and movies there are so many different audiences that view them and get attached to not only the characters but the world that is within what is being viewed. When shows end and there are fans left wanting more it is because they need the shows it has become part of their life and it is sad to see that some one would get so sad about a TV show ended finally. Such as the show Supernatural it was supposed to have ended after season five but because of all the strong fan support the creators extended it an extra five seasons. Now imagine someone watching that show for every season, that is about ten years of ones life committed to that show and then imagine when that show stops it huge. People felt these same emotions when such shows as MASH, Seinfeld, Cheers and Friends. Why does this happen to people? What is it about these shows that just captures a person feelings, emotions and a real attachment to the characters and show?

  16. How do the creators/authors of the image towards the audience react to the interpretations that alter the original meaning and effect of the image being analyzed by the audiences through the studies?

  17. Reading the audience chapter, The author states, “Audiences, then are constituted in this theory as a discrete site of meaning-making.” Page 269 I wrestle with the complexity of the extent that visual images affect us. Does a visual image affects us or based on the audience do we affect the image? What, if possible, is most important? Is it vice-versa and what ways can we use to differentiate these to things if they are separate?

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