Writing As Research


One would think studying a photography degree is solely related to taking photographs only, but this isn’t the only aspect. Research and writing, play a significant role towards the making of the photograph and developing an understanding of how to analyse a photo. Image analysis allows you to get a better knowledge of context awareness. Interacting with objects, settings, and understanding of cultural media and what the photograph depicts. Researching and critically analysing a photo allows you to represent and convey ideas and thoughts.

According to Wendy Hesford and Brenda Jo Brueggemann, photographic analysis involves examining images in terms of subject/content, perspective, and audience/content, all part of a so-called rhetorical triangle (Rhetorical Visions: Reading and Writing in a Visual Culture, Upper Saddle River, NJ: 2006.)


  • The subjects of the image, their appearance and gaze.

  • The components of the image, their arrangement, the use of colour, and where your eye is drawn within the image.

  • The types of narrative elements present in the image—what story is told? Is there an implied chronology before or after the image?


  • The historical and cultural contexts from which the image emerged

  • The historical and cultural contexts in which the image is seen or read the contexts surrounding audience.

  • The message/image itself, and how historical and cultural contexts shape the way a particular theme or subject is presented.


  • The photographer’s/filmmaker’s gaze or perspective and camera angle.

  • The framing of the subject matter.

  • The use of the camera to establish an illusion of intimacy, or sense of distance.