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Disaster Dialogues: Representations of catastrophe in word and image


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For this issue cover concept, ‘Disaster Dialogues: Representations of catastrophe in word and image’, the idea is to present a cover concept that eludes any literal representation. By presenting a photographic visual interpretation of this issue content is to challenge the viewer to explore the emotional aspects of the cover through form and movement. By avoiding symbolic representation is to create an interpretation by rejecting the notion that something identifiable must be depicted in a photograph. The photograph focuses purely on interpretive abstraction that ‘removes literal, descriptive clutter and hones an image down to its essence, encouraging imaginative responses’, where the taxonomy of both the visual and text join forces. Abstraction possesses incongruity, and ‘presents elements that seem to be at odds with their context, creating contrasts and juxtapositions that stimulate both the emotions and the imagination’ (Douglis 2010: 30). Further abstract photography is about capturing shape colour, line and texture from something that is real and making that reality unrecognisable where the colours and shapes become emotion, while form and movement become attitude. Here, the visual language of the image is supported by the issue theme title and forms a symbiosis between image and text to unveil in the viewer an apprehensive feeling. The desired outcome of the design is to predict an impending event. A dark visual dialogue is evident, composed by the designer’s ability to capture, select, frame, guide the eye and inject mood and atmosphere into the photograph. Abstract photography has a long history and some of the most revered works are illustrated in nineteenth century artists such as, Piet Mondrian, Saul Leiter, Paul Strange and Alfred Stieglitz.


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