Often in study of media, one comes across the use of visual aids instead of print or argument to sway people to the desired opinion. At a glance, one might think that a picture could be considered a valid argument, and that it's just the presentation of a large amount of information through a different medium.

While the photograph is an information conduit, the crucial problem with picture-as-fact, is that in the vast majority of cases, the picture is presented stand alone, without any context.

Without con-text, no argument is present. An argument is an abstracted relation of many pieces of information, and can only be expressed relatively. In most of these cases, the photo assumes an absolute stance.

the only value is the cheap shock value, which can be effective, but is without any logical basis.
In advertising in particular, science is used as a sort of theme instead of an argument. This avoids making claims that have to be backed up (which they may not be able to). For example, a particular headache advert used a graph as the background for the poster. However, while the large yellow line was undoubtedly going upwards in a sort of ramp shape, the graph had no labels.

There was no indication of what the changing variable was - even whether it was related to headaches. Resistor response to voltage, black body radiation, speed of a car on a journey from Land's end to Penzance? Who knows.

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