All the Pretty Little Pictures

I know I should marvel most at the writing, at the accomplishment, at the hard work of the e-portfolio blogs, but to tell the truth, what truly impressed me was how some blogs managed to combine their words with visuals. They didn’t look like the chunky and plain web pages I imagined. Many of them are beautiful and professional. Tell the truth, if, without knowing it was for a class, you’d seen this:

From Katy Sharf’s E-Portfolio

Would you think it was for a class? Click on the picture if you want to go to the E-portfolio and see more. What I truly want to know is where they got there pictures like this one (which you can also click and be led to the original blog):

From Rachel Kalayjian’s E-Portfolio

Excuse me, there is a point to my gushing over things that ostensibly have nothing to do with writing. Why I am so impressed with much of their work manage to fuse the purpose of the portfolio with the appearance of it; function infused with form, form infused with function. Blogging and e-portfolios allows for regular people, not just magazines and yearbooks, to have the physical appearance of what you read reflect something about what you’re reading. The picture above reflects the passion and drive the e-portfolio compiler had throughout her essays. Of course, all writing should (to the extent it’s save to use words like “all” and “should”) reflect physically its purpose, if in no other way than in its length. Now there are things that take this too a little too far:

However, if you think about it the whole concept of writing a paper is connected with this. Whenever you hit enter and tab to create a paragraph you’re physically differentiating it because of a change in content.

Enough about the pretty pictures and the formats though, ultimately it’s all about the word (mostly). The words were the content, the most important part or to use food metaphors, the pictures blog design is the frosting and the shape of the cake, and the essays and info are the cake and filling. Each blog was unique because it is reflected the interests of the writer and every essay justified the existence of the pretty websites. There is substance; whether about the general topic of “Why I Write”, political activism, fiction pieces, and other work for classes. Moreover there is ownership; each writer did more than put their name on the top of the page, they did about me pages. There’s a lot of talk about how the internet can be a haven for anonymity that allows people to get up to no good but these e-portfolios show that in some ways, when you make a website, fill it with your words, put yourself out there, you can be known as an individual and have a positive impact.

4 thoughts to “All the Pretty Little Pictures”

  1. To comment on your point regarding the visual aspect of these e-portfolios. I don’t think that there is a better way to encourage people to read your material than to have a visually appealing site. This speaks to much of what Dr. Manis is directing us to do with our blogs. When one is faced with a boring mass wall of text, it transforms reading from something enjoyable, to a more daunting task. I also appreciate the fact that a visual, whether it be an image or video, can break up the monotony of reading. I think that it can also provide the reader with a specific perspective that cannot simply be achieved through words.

    I also appreciate the fact that you connected with the e-portfolio’s who did the best job of personalizing their content. I am still a little unsure of the most effective ways that one can achieve this. Is it best to choose specific writing that shows your style? Or should it be more explicit and simply state who you are as a person and what your goals for the site overall are? Essentially I am wondering if you think explicit direction, which tells the reader what to think, or if more subtle interaction is better as a whole?

  2. Julia

    I was just as impressed as you were with all the pictures in the e-portfolios. Attractive visuals certainly helped me engage with the written content on display in the e-portfolios. A mass wall of text can be extremely daunting for a reader, as Skylar said. I am extremely happy Dr. Manis encouraged us to add visual mediums to our blog posts. I think that my blog posts have been a lot better overall since I started to successfully incorporate visual aid.

    There will certainly be a plethora of visual aid for the readers of my e-portfolio to think about. My visual aid will be carefully placed, and there will be significant meaning behind everything I put in my e-portfolio. Have you decided how you are going to use pictures in your e-portfolio yet? How will you allow your individualism to flourish through the pictures in your e-portfolio? I anticipate that it will be a quite thought-provoking task to do this. As you said, the web can be a “haven for anonymity”, so how will you display your identity through this e-portfolio? I am anxious to see what you decide to do. I look forward to seeing how many pretty little pictures you will find to help your readers relate to the message about yourself you are trying to convey in your e-portfolio.

  3. While before enrolling in Writing 200 I most likely would have discounted the value of including media with writing , I am beginning to realize not only its benefit but also the skill required to do so, to which you alluded. Many readers today (hopefully I’m not just speaking for myself here) struggle to keep their attention on a piece they’re reading. Especially when reading blogs it can be difficult to fully engage with the author when many of them look alike and follow the same formats.

    I think the purpose of the blog, like you mentioned, is to portray yourself to readers. Artwork or videos can help your audience maintain their attention while they paint a better picture of yourself and your viewpoints. I’m still working on being able to accompany my words with media that aids me in getting across to my audience. Your blog was helpful for me in understanding the importance of bolstering blogging with art and photos, and it is something I’ll try to incorporate into my next blog.

  4. Awesome title.

    In my ap lang class the theme was that everything is an argument. Perhaps the media you choose could be a form of writing too? I don’t know, what do you think? Is it a stretch? Or is your website as a whole a piece of writing about your writing?

    I have a blog that I post short stories I write and only my two sisters read it, and my older sister has a blog, which I enjoy reading more than my own because she is a semi-professional photographer and all the pictures are so much better. Mine is lines and lines and lines and lines of text. (Maybe I’m not cut out for blogging world) But part of me still wishes there were picture-books for adults.

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