9 Multimodal Essay

Yu-Chia Shun and Meg'n Blundell


Mainstream life in the U.S. is deluged with images—not random photos or pictures, but carefully selected images designed to influence what we think and how we feel. Writers layer text, music, spoken words, and so on with images, the images rarely work alone. Usually accompanied by much information. Regardless of the intent, we should be cognizant of the way details, the minute and the marginal, figure into the meaning of a message. Each image contributes to a whole story, and even though each piece is a single part, they are connected.

Key elements:

  • Photo essays will need to connect the individual images and text to create a message.
  • By examining the rhetorical situation, writers can make informed decisions about what to include and how to include that info in their texts. Photo essays are primarily visual communication, but they do use strategically composed sentences to complement the images (i.e. organize thoughts based on use of ethos, pathos, logos).
  • Before creating a photo essay, think about the community to which you belong and what it means to you. Community can be defined by Place, Action, Interest, Circumstance.
  • Possible organizational structure could include: Cover Slide > Background as it pertains to you and this community > History of Community > Purpose > Values or Characteristics > Why You Enjoy It > How to Join > Problem/Solution.
  • Finally, remember to cite the image sources and any outside sources you might have used to relay the purpose or history of this community.


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Music in Your Words Copyright © 2023 by Yu-Chia Shun and Meg'n Blundell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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