Visual analysis essay

Journal Writing

  • 1. Choose one of the pictures displayed on the whiteboard
  • 2. Describe the picture
  • 3. Write down your understanding of the picture

Why was this picture taken?

Why is this picture significant?

What is a visual analysis?!

  • Visuals, just like words, make some kind of claim that they hope audience will accept.
  • When analyzing an image, you ask the same question you would from of any text

Can a picture have a global meaning?

What Is a Global Issue?

  • Affects a large number of people across national boundaries

poverty, climate change

  • Is of significant concern to all or most of the countries.

communicable diseases, conflicts

  • Requires a global regulatory approach to resolve.

trade, corruption, immigration, war, human trafficking, global warming

Who are the key players involved in global issues ?

  • Countries
  • UN system
  • International Financial Institutions
  • International NGOs
  • Transnational corporations
  • Foundations
  • You i.e. global citizens

Why Care about Global Issues?

  • Economic Consequences
  • Social Consequences
  • Security Consequences
  • Health Consequences
  • Environmental Consequences
  • What is the issue?

What is its global implication and significance?

What social, political, cultural context does this image imply?

What regions/ countries are affected by this issue?

  • How is this image related to any national or global event or situation?
  • Who is being affected? Directly or indirectly?
  • How and why are they affected by this issue?
  • When has this issue started?
  • Where is this issue happening?

In this assignment…

An iconic image or photograph with a global implication.

An image or picture in U.S. with social, cultural, political, historical impact on another country/ region in the world

A significant image or picture in another country/ region in the world and its social, cultural, political, historical impact on U.S., other countries, or the rest of the world

Two images or pictures of one issue/ event but in two different countries, regions in the world

A global issue

A significant political, cultural, social issue in another country other than U.S

  • Begin with a general statement

More specific statements

Thesis statement



  • Introduce the topic and provide a brief description

Significance of the topic: nationally and / or globally

Relevancy of the topic to current events

Establish context

Background information

Discuss the cause and effect

Ask a question

Tell a story

Provide a historical account

Draw a contrast: compare/ contrast

Lead with a quotation


  • Historical, political, social, cultural context

Sample introduction

  • Human trafficking, or slave trade, is a serious global problem of the 20th and 21st century combating which is hard because of a lack of understanding and knowledge of trafficking schemes and mechanisms. Women are victimized at a much higher rate because this criminal activity is closely connected with prostitution, while illegal migration has also grown strongly tied to “flesh trade.” Both men and women, as well as entire families, often face prosecution in their native country or simply live in poverty and destitution, while legal migration is for some reason unattainable for them.

Sample introduction

  • The consistently rising temperature of the earth’s atmosphere is termed as global warming. This rising temperature is largely attributed to human activities and coincided with the massive industrialization of the 19th century. Since then, global temperatures have been steadily rising – a process accelerated in the past three decades by rapid industrialization across the developing world and the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases effected by this industrialization.

Thesis statement

  • The main idea of your writing
  • Thesis = Topic + global implication and significance of this issue
  • Does your thesis answer a question you have posed?
  • So What? Does the thesis state the global significance of the topic?
  • Can you explain why the readers will want to read an essay with this thesis?

Evaluate your thesis

Sample thesis

  • The creators of this image illustrate the global debate about athletes’ using performance enhancing drugs to earn more fame, sponsors, and medals: a practice that has negative effects on those who look up to these athletes as role models.
  • Global warming caused by massive industrialization, human activity, and rapid deforestation across the world, is the focus of this image.
  • The creators of this image illustrate the problem of human trafficking which is predominantly a female issue because of high demand for prostitutes in the European Union, Middle East, and Asian countries.

Sample thesis statements

  • The politics associated with global warming has sabotaged efforts to curb and control this environmental crisis shown in this image; therefore, countries need to reconcile their differences and work together to retard the effects of global warming.
  •  Deforestation, though in play over the last 20 years, has not caused as much global warming as the emissions of gases from fossil fuels in the Southern African region.
  • This image depicts a global issue: Human trafficking as the gravest violation of universal human rights because of deprivation of an individual of his or her natural right to freedom of will and choice

Body paragraphs

  • Description and brief analysis of image

Description of colors, shapes, people, objects, background

Emotional effects on the audience

Reason for these choices

  • Global implication and significance

Social, historical, political, cultural context

Who/ what is affected? Why?

Who/ what is responsible and is able to resolve this issue?

What should be done to reduce/ stop the consequences?

Any practical solution?

  • Body paragraphs build upon the claims made in the introductory paragraph and thesis
  • Claim

Arguable topic sentence

  • Context

Explanation of the topic sentence and preparing the reader for the evidence

  • Evidence

Descriptions, examples, facts, explanations and quotes from secondary sources

  • Explanation

Respond to and explain significance and relevancy of evidence

  • Closing

Transition to the next paragraph/ concluding the paragraphs

Elements of an argumentative paragraph


  • Global significance of this issue
  • So What?!

Why should the audience care?

How is the audience affected by this issue?

What action do you expect the audience to take?