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Listed under:  Language  >  Language modes  >  Viewing  >  Visual texts
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'Migrant mother', 1936

This is one of the most famous photographs of the Great Depression in the USA. It shows Florence Owens Thompson aged 32 huddled together with three of her seven children (the baby is obscured). The family as a whole are described in the Library of Congress catalogue as 'migrant' (ie itinerant) pea pickers in California ...

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'Jitterbugging in Negro juke joint', 1939

This is a black-and-white photograph showing African Americans at a roadside dance hall outside Clarksdale in Mississippi, USA, one Saturday evening in November 1939. Couples are jitterbugging to music from a jukebox while other people, mostly men, are standing around. The photograph was taken by Marion Post Wolcott.

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Laughing tobacco farmers, 1940

This is a black-and-white photograph of a Polish couple, Mr and Mrs Andrew Lyman, tobacco farmers near Windsor Locks in Connecticut, USA. They are both laughing and Andrew Lyman appears to be pulling up his pants. The couple are in their working clothes and rows of tobacco leaves are drying above their heads. This well-known ...

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'Old Negro (former slave) with horn with which slaves were called', 1939

This is a black-and-white photograph showing an old African American man sitting in a doorway and holding a horn once used to summon slaves to work at sunrise. The photograph was taken near Marshall in Texas, USA, by photographer Russell Lee.

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'Washington, DC Government charwoman', 1942

This is a famous black-and-white anti-discrimination photograph, also widely known as 'American Gothic, Washington, DC'. It shows Mrs Ella Watson, an African American cleaner at the Treasury in Washington, USA. She is standing stiffly in front of the US flag, with a broom on one side and a mop on the other. The photograph ...

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Using language to describe being Australian

What are some iconic Australian symbols? No doubt people would say the kangaroo, the koala or the emu. But what about sheep? Have they played a part in shaping the way Australians see themselves?

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A song about emus

Imagine what it would be like to be a bird that cannot fly? Watch the clip and listen to the song by Don Spencer that captures in words and rhythm how the flightless emu thunders through the Australian bush.

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Michael Leunig's duck: a conversation

Have you ever had a sudden burst of inspiration and wondered where it came from? That was the case for Michael Leunig, well-known Australian cartoonist, writer, artist and philosopher. Sometimes ideas come to us in abstract ways, as symbols. In this audio clip, Leunig explains the symbolism behind his now famous 'direction-finding ...

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Objectivity in the media - thinking about Twitter

Imagine a platform where everybody has the opportunity to voice their opinions publicly. That would be pretty democratic, right? This is one of the purposes of Twitter. However, Twitter doesn't always give an accurate indication of public opinion. Explore how this clip encourages viewers to think about Twitter in a particular way.

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The construction of TV news

Have you ever thought about how a news clip is put together? It's a process of carefully combining a range of audio and visual conventions to present information in a way that seems unbiased. Use this ABC News clip to explore some of the features of TV news.

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Using visual language to represent status

Have you ever felt judged because of where you live? This clip from 1967 explores the reactions of residents to a survey that ranks Melbourne's suburbs. But is this clip as guilty as the survey for reinforcing particular views of these places? You be the judge.

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Representing Sydney's suburbs, 1965

In this clip from the mid-60s, explore how words and images can be combined to encourage particular interpretations and influence audience response. Explore how some of the inner suburbs of Sydney have been represented in history.

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Bikes, cameras and cystic fibrosis

What does it take to remain active and optimistic despite having a serious physical condition? Michael McMahon's photo story shows us that cystic fibrosis hasn't stopped him doing what he loves best. A proud resident of Warrnambool in Victoria, and with a strong family network around him, he is living life to the fullest. ...

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Pitching the perfect news story

Ever considered the amount of thought and planning that would need to go into each and every news item? Journalists must plan their stories carefully and pitch them to their editors, who decide which items will go to air. Learn some tips about creating the perfect pitch from Triple J Hack experts Michael Atkin and Kaitlyn Sawrey.

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The serious side of comics

Poetry, plays, novels � and comic books? In the past, writers and illustrators of graphic novels have struggled to have their work taken seriously. More recently, the tides might just have turned. Judge for yourself whether this form of text deserves a little more respect than it's been getting. This clip is one in a series ...

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The comic tale of graphic novels

Comic books have a long and diverse history. Despite this, many people don't see comics as 'real' literature. In this clip, learn more about the origins of popular visual narratives and consider their evolution to the powerful graphic novels of today. This clip is one in a series of four.

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Going into battle for graphic novels

Many readers love comic books and graphic novels. According to the four graphic novelists in this discussion, not everybody shares this enthusiasm! As you listen to their discussion, consider how the language we use in everyday conversations can work to judge and even disempower others. This clip is one in a series of four.

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Ronald Reagan: commemorating heroism

Few things reveal both the best and worst of humanity more than war. The D-Day landings of World War II were full of horror and heroism and are commemorated in this speech by former President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan. Explore the construction of this speech and how it is shaped to suit audience and purpose.

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Malalai Joya's voice of dissent

Malalai Joya is a former Afghani politician who, as a young woman of 25, stood up in a room crowded with 503 mostly male political delegates to denounce the warlords who had taken control of Afghanistan. Her action was supported by many but was denounced by those in power. Today, Joya continues her political activism.

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What's so special about graphic novels?

Graphic novels are a contemporary literary phenomenon. But what sets them apart from other forms of narrative, such as novels or films? Explore the unique features of the graphic novel in this discussion with some of Australia's most successful graphic novelists. This clip is one in a series of four.