Think Before Hitting Play

Chapter 10 discussed an anthropological approach to examining imagery. The anthropological approach is different from the ethnographic approach discussed in chapter 9. As the book says, “Instead of being affiliated with sociology and making use of social theory like audience studies, the approach discussed in this chapter draws more on anthropology and some of its key theoretical themes.” Anthropology is is defined as a social science that studies the origins and social relationships of human beings. Although ethnography is a branch of anthropology it is still very different. Ethnography is defined as a branch of anthropology that provides a scientific description of individual human societies. Basically, anthropology studies us as individuals and ethnography studies us in groups. Audience studies are “concerned with social identity and its relation to the meaning of images”. We as humans are constantly effected by our environments. Audience studies focuses on how our environments shape our social identities in society and how that effects the way we see things. Audience studies is concerned with the “process of interpretation” where as anthropological studies are not and is out to examine “what happens when something is done with visual materials”. Audience studies focus on why we see images the way we do and anthropological studies focuses on how we respond to images as visual materials.

I am only 21 years old and I can remember a time in my lifetime where it was less than 7 dollars to get into a movie. To go to a movie now is almost 10 dollars, and that’s without the popcorn. So why do we go to the movies? Lets face it, there are just some movies that you have to see on the big screen. The surround sound, the gigantic screen and the whole movie watching experience is the only way to experience certain movies. The way a movie is presented in the theater and the way it is presented on the television screen in your living room are 2 totally different things, and like it or not it effects the way you view the movie. Stars Wars is not worth watching if you do not have surround sound and a minimum of 50 inches of screen to watch it on. The effect also changes with the physical presentation of the movie. Watching a DVD on BlueRay on a high definition television is not the same as watching a VHS on a bubble screen. There’s a difference. We have been exposed to this level of technology and the difference in experience forever changes the way we watch movies. V for Vendetta has explosions and fight scenes in it. It’s a violent and dramatic film and how you watch it, and what you watch it on, makes a difference. I do have to say I was extremely intrigued by this chapter. I have never thought of any movie I have watched as a visual object. However, it is and how that visual object is presented to me can have a huge effect on how I see it. I can only imagine how many more ways we will come up with to present these visual objects known as movies. Until then, don’t spoil the movie with bad presentation.

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