The question of which image has had the most impact on our world is not new.
But it has taken on a new urgency because of the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of social media.
The debate is not whether the image has become more ubiquitous, but whether it is having the greatest impact on the way we think about ourselves and our world.
And while we’re at it, what images do we think of most in our minds?
“It’s kind of like the question of who the most popular image in the world is,” said Jessica Kipnis, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Iowa who studies the psychology of image perception.
“Who’s the most famous person?
Who’s the biggest star?
How famous is Beyonce?”
Kipris says the images we’re most drawn to and most likely to remember are those with high visibility.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you see that, the image is going to be in your head for the rest of your life,” she said.
In the years since the images of Michael Jackson’s first “Thriller” video surfaced online, the images have come to be viewed as icons of culture, a powerful and inspiring example of art, and a source of inspiration for artists and others.
While we may be drawn to the iconic images of our childhood, we can often be swayed by the images that pop up on social media, Kipis said.
The popularity of the “thrill-killer” image is especially striking, given the fact that it depicts a young woman in a bikini with a man holding a knife in one hand and a camera in the other.
It’s a common trope that people often associate with female bodies, but not always.
“The thrill-killer image is also a common one, with many men having a similar image that depicts a woman in her underwear and a man carrying a knife,” Kipbis said.
“People are drawn to images that make you feel powerful and confident.”
What’s the point of these images?
Some artists have taken them to create their own images.
“Some of the images are just really nice,” Kipping said.
But there are other more powerful images out there, some that people have chosen to take on.
“I don’t think anyone would choose to go and look at the Kardashians, but the ones that are on Facebook and Instagram, they’re all very powerful,” Kips said.
Kipsis said she has noticed an increasing number of images of people with disabilities being seen by the public.
“We’ve been seeing images of the elderly, people with physical disabilities and people with developmental disabilities in the media.
So those are really powerful,” she explained.
“These images are not necessarily about people who are different or disabled.
They’re really about people being represented in a way that is representative of who they are, what they’re able to do.”
The images are often seen as an indictment of those with disabilities, but Kipisi said that these images are actually important symbols of a society that is struggling to embrace people of different races, genders, and ages.
“They’re really telling us that we are a better society, a more inclusive society, if we’re going to accept everyone,” she noted.
“If we’re not, we’re just not going to have an inclusive society.”
And with that, Kipping and Kipias said they would love to hear what you think.
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Here are some other questions to get you started: How can I better understand people’s feelings about certain images?
How can artists use these images to tell stories?
How does this image make you think about the image itself?
What is the meaning of these pictures?
What are some images that I’ve seen that you would like to see more of?
How could this image help you?