Exercise 3.4: A Persuasive Image


For this exercise I have chosen 3 images that argue a particular point. I have tried to choose three very different types of image, but all three have a related theme – the environment.

The first image is a very explicit message constructed by Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps, the image can be seen at https://www.kennardphillipps.com/new-work-greenpeace-savethearctic-campaign-song-oil-ice-fire/  It was produced as part of a video for the Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ campaign. It is based on ‘Christina’s World’ a 1948 painting by Andrew Wyeth (The original can be seen at https://www.moma.org/collection/works/78455). The Greenpeace video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMsVvDwf-eA) starts with Wyeth’s image and ends with the KennardPhillipps’ version. The power of this image comes from its subversion of the original bucolic scene into an horrific vision of oil tar and refinery. The, not so subtle, message being that this is what oil exploration could do to the Arctic.

The second image I chose is also about the environment and pollution, but it is much more subtle. Justin Hofman’s image of a seahorse clinging to a plastic cotton bud (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/09/seahorse-ocean-pollution/) sums up in one simple image the damage being done to our natural environment. Keefe (2017) describes how the photograph was taken and quotes Hofman’s summary of the image that “This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans”.

My final image is and advert for a car. The photograph at https://pushevs.com/2017/05/10/volkswagen-starts-advertising-new-e-golf/ shows a car being driven in a mountain landscape. The road is clear of any other traffic and the mountain air looks clear and unpolluted. This is used a background for the promotion of what is an electric car. The setting of the car sweeping towards you from the right, the clean, natural scenery behind and the prominent text announcing the ‘all-electric’ car are designed to promote the green credentials of the vehicle.

Hofman, J. (2017) This Heartbreaking Photo Reveals a Troubling Reality. At: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/09/seahorse-ocean-pollution/ (Accessed on 15 March 2018)



This part of the exercise asked me to consider an issue that I feel strongly about and design an image that would have a persuasive effect on the viewer.

I have been particularly taken with the work of Peter Kennard and I also wanted to experiment with collage/montage work in preparation for my final asssignment. I also feel strongly about environmental issues and pollution. So I decided to try to produce an image on this topic.

So, influenced by the work of KennardPhillipps, and with due respect to John Everett Millais, I produced Ophelia 2018!


Image of Ophelia, John Everett Millais [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons