ICA VCS Members Bookshelf

Browse below books and scholarly monographs authored by our members and pre-eminent academics affiliated with the International Communication Association’s Visual Communication Studies Division. If you’re a member and would like your book added, please fill out this form and your request will be considered.

Our members’ books offer students and educators media production skills, research methods training, and the theory and conceptual understanding to understand visual communication in diverse contexts, from journalism to new media.

Day of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and transformation of a cultural phenomenon (2009)

By Regina Marchi | Book type: Conceptual/Theoretical

Tracing Day of the Dead celebrations from Mexico to the US, this book reveals cultural and political transformations along the way, as Chicano artists embraced and altered Indigenous Mexican rituals to express cultural identity and oppositional political messages. Public Día de los Muertos celebrations emerged in the US in the 1970s when Chicano artists created altar exhibitions, death-related performance art and other visual expressions. Considered “morbid” when first introduced to US audiences, Day of the Dead is now widely featured in educational curricula, museums, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, films, the Internet and commercial venues – all integral forces in popularizing it. Combining visual analysis, ethnography, archival research, oral history and critical cultural analysis, the author illustrates the influence of the mass media, commercialization and globalization on the growth of Day of the Dead.

Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections (2009)

By Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Erik Page Bucy | Book type: Conceptual/Theoretical

Winner of the 2010 ICA Book Award, Image Bite Politics systematically assesses the visual presentation of presidential candidates in network news coverage of elections and connects these visual images with political motivations and shifts in public opinion. Presenting the results of a comprehensive visual analysis of general election news from 1992-2004, encompassing four presidential campaigns, the authors highlight the remarkably potent influence of television images when it comes to evaluating leaders. The book draws from political science, behavioral biology, cognitive neuroscience, and media studies to investigate the visual framing of elections in an incisive, interdisciplinary fashion. Findings challenge widely held assumptions, yet are supported by systematic data. In an era of mediatization and growing visual influence, book provides a foundation for promoting visual literacy among news audiences and brings the importance of visual analysis to the forefront of media research.

By Tama LeaverTim Highfield, & Crystal Abidin | Book type: Conceptual/Theoretical

In the first book-length examination of Instagram, Tama Leaver, Tim Highfield and Crystal Abidin trace how this quintessential mobile photography app has developed as a platform and a culture. They consider aspects such as the new visual social media aesthetics, the rise of Influencers and new visual economies, and the complex politics of the platform as well as examining how Instagram’s users change their use of the platform over time and respond to evolving features. The book highlights the different ways Instagram is used by subcultural groups around the world, and how museums, restaurants and public spaces are striving to be ‘Insta-worthy’. Far from just capturing milestones and moments, the authors argue that Instagram has altered the ways people communicate and share, while also creating new approaches to marketing, advertising, politics and the design of spaces and venues.

The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods (2019, 2nd ed.)

By Luc Pauwels & Dawn Mannay (Eds.) | Book type: Research methods

SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods (eds. Luc Pauwels and Dawn Mannay)

The second, thoroughly revised and expanded, edition of The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods presents a wide-ranging exploration and overview of the field today. As in its first edition, the Handbook does not aim to present a consistent view or voice, but rather to exemplify diversity and contradictions in perspectives and techniques. The selection of chapters from the first edition have been fully updated to reflect current developments. New chapters to the second edition cover key topics including picture-sorting techniques, creative methods using artefacts, visual framing analysis, therapeutic uses of images, and various emerging digital technologies and online practices. At the core of all contributions are theoretical and methodological debates about the meanings and study of the visual, presented in vibrant accounts of research design, analytical techniques, fieldwork encounters and data presentation. This handbook presents a unique survey of the discipline that will be essential reading for scholars and students across the social and behavioural sciences, arts and humanities, and far beyond these disciplinary boundaries.

The Handbook is organized into seven main sections:

  • PART 1: FRAMING THE FIELD OF VISUAL RESEARCH
  • PART 2: VISUAL AND SPATIAL DATA PRODUCTION METHODS AND TECHNOLOGIES
  • PART 3: PARTICIPATORY AND SUBJECT-CENTERED APPROACHES
  • PART 4: ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORKS AND PERSPECTIVES PART
  • 5: MULTIMODAL AND MULTISENSORIAL RESEARCH PART
  • 6: RESEARCHING ONLINE PRACTICES PART
  • 7: COMMUNICATING THE VISUAL: FORMATS AND CONCERNS

To see and Be Seen: The Environments, Interactions and Identities Behind News Images (2019)

By T.J. Thomson | Book type: Conceptual/Theoretical

To See and Be Seen considers some of the ideological, aesthetic, pragmatic, institutional, cultural, commercial, environmental, and psychological forces that consciously or otherwise shape the production of news images and subsequently influence their reception. The results of Thomson’s research provide one of the first empirical and real-time glimpses into the experience of being in front of a journalist’s lens. To See and Be Seen enables us to understand the stories behind images by considering the environment in which such images are made, the exchange (if one occurred) between the camera-wielding observer and the observed, the identities of both parties, and how they react to the representations that are created. 

Video Journalism: Beyond the One Man Band (2012)

By Mary Angela Bock

Video Journalism: Beyond the One-Man Band (Mary Angela Bock)

Video journalism, the process by which one person shoots, writes, and edits video for broadcast or the web, is a form of newsgathering taking hold in newsrooms of all kinds, by professionals and would-be citizen journalists around the world. This book presents more than two years of research in a wide variety of contexts to study the way VJs work. In a departure from other news ethnographies, this book takes a somewhat unusual approach in that the author observes video journalists in the field. The resulting description offers insight into the forces that shape video narrative in the digital age.

Visual Communication Theory and Research: A Mass Communication Perspective (2014)

By Shahira Fahmy, Mary Angela Bock, & Wayne Wanta

Visual Communication Theory and Research: A Mass Communication Perspective (Shahira Fahmy, Mary Angela Bock, and Wayne Wanta)

In today’s multimedia environment, visuals are essential and expected parts of storytelling. However, the visual communication research field is fragmented into several sub-areas, making study difficult. Fahmy, Bock, and Wanta note trends and discuss the challenges of conducting analysis of images across print, broadcast, and online media. The book is organized according to Lasswell’s classic question that defines communication studies: “Who says what to whom in which channel with what effect?”

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