The Eyes Deceive and the Heart Believes

Satchel Payne
5 min readMar 2, 2021

I take it many of you wake up and do not realize what abilities you possess, you can walk, you can hear, you can see, you can taste, smell, touch, etc. all of which I am sure you take for granted. We only miss things when they’re gone. This statement seems very random when applied to what I am going to talk about, but is a reality we all share, and yet even after my quick briefing all of you reading this have come to your own conclusions and have applied that saying to your life’s experiences, and if not then good for you I guess. But this saying is not what I am here to talk about, I am here to talk about the image below and the different factors (which I will explain) that contributed to why I changed its certain elements. Like the saying, this image, or any image really is interpreted differently be everybody — because no one person is the same — though we might have similar backgrounds and experiences, all of our brains have their own specific pattern and flow. Understanding this pattern usually helps people be more happy as they can explain why they act or react in certain ways, a way to help you understand your brain is of course knowledge and experience. Knowledge leads to smarter decisions and experience leads to wisdom. During the rest of this story I will attempt to help increase your knowledge of how certain elements of an image can alter our perceptions and influence our analysis, through authors and even my own created image. As considered throughout my photos editing were such factors like, audience, exigence and the more specific terms confined in visual rhetoric, all of which play a key role in influencing how you perceive the image as compared to my original intent, though you could argue it is all relative.

Now to the grit, over the past few weeks I have been reading pieces and sections of literature talking about and analyzing rhetoric and as of recently visual rhetoric. In order to dive deeper into visual rhetoric we must first understand the basics of a rhetorical device. This includes, the exigency (exigence), audience and constraints, all of which affect the meaning and purpose of a rhetorical device. Exigence as defined in Quentin Vieregge essay “Exigency: What Makes My Message Indispensable to My Reader” is the circumstance and reason for why something matters, not only on a broad spectrum but in that specific place and for that certain group of people. Exigence most of the time is a response to something, the something that is being responded to is is defined by the author, though it is not always obvious. Another term important to the basics of a rhetorical device and arguably the most important/influential is the audience, who is being appealed to. Or as Laura Carroll defines it in “Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps toward Rhetorical Analysis” the intended (or unintended) recipients of a rhetorical message, the audience should be able to address the problem and craft a response. But, both the exigence and audience can be influenced by rhetorical devices constraints; constraints as defined by Carrol are those things–(I know broad right)–that have the power to constrain decision and action needed to alter the exigence. These three components are key in analyzing rhetorical devices, but for our specific case, we need them to analyze the provided image-text juxtaposition, you are probably asking yourself, or not, it’s your life do what you want. Anyway, even if you are not asking I’m going to tell you still what image-text juxtaposition is. Image-text juxtaposition which I am now going to refer to as I-TJ, is the showing of an image with a caption or element added to juxtapose (place or deal with close together for contrasting effect) its contents. As for my I-TJ, I was heavily influenced by Jenae Cohn’s “Understanding Visual Rhetoric” where in her essay she explores the different components comprised in captured canvases. Upon reading her piece I had grasped a better understanding of what thought goes into an image to give it certain affects and feels, a great quote I got from Cohn’s writing was “Visual rhetoric can also be used to help people understand a concept, break down an idea, or access important pieces of information.” (Page 22). Then going on to explain all of the different elements that can and do change in an image, this list includes: Line, Color, Shape, Size, Space, Value and Texture. Though I would love to define all of these I have both a time and word constraint and so I will be discussing only three, the three that pertain to my image. The three I chose to alter from the original image were texture, a tool used to evoke a certain sensation from a viewer, color, that can alter the emotions felt and seen in an image and lastly shape, the effect that can highlight a certain word or part of an image to give it more or less importance. Now for you to see the image:

I know cheesy right, okay you are definitely wondering why this image, if you traverse the internet you have probably seen this famous YouTuber before (Penguinz0). The I-TJ comes from the images origin, originally titled “Share if You Love Jesus’’ with a clear and bright colored background, I added a black and white filter to take away the fun from the image, I added a crumpled paper like texture over it in order to capture a more serious and important tone and I changed the size and content of the original caption in order to give it more power and meaning. The new exigence I gave it was a response to the world, in this current year (2021) in the United States everything seems in disarray, as a response to the current chaos, I hoped this image would in some way give at least a little hope to a person, someone, anyone. While the intended audience can be argued, even with me the author, I am telling you right now that there is no intended audience, at least not that I was aiming for, I wanted this image to apply to everyone, even though I already stated a specific country I was hoping somehow it could be more expansive. And yet that is its constraints, it is an American YouTuber with an English caption, this can only pertain to a certain media and to a certain group. I guess that is the pain and the pleasure of creating an I-TJ you can never truly reach all people, but you you can hope and try to make your message inclusive enough to where it makes others want to help each other, then again it’s up to you remember, your life id your story, create an image with your knowledge and finish your masterpiece with wisdom.

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