Exxon Valdez – Visual Analysis




Image sourced from: http://img.wennermedia.com/article-leads-horizontal-1400/rs-183163-112866731.jpg

Like all disasters there is an attempt to take visual images that pull at the heartstrings of those who look at them while others show truths about what is happening. With the massive scale of the Exxon Valdez oil spill this image is showing many truths. This image of men in rain gear on a sunny day cleaning rocks with absorbent towels is one that shows the truths. Within the image it can be seen the men working to clean up the oil but also the wilderness and beauty that is Prince William Sound in Alaska; the mountain can also be seen in the background. There is a very distinct line towards the upper right hand side of the image of the oil that has been washed onto the rocky shoreline. This image represents the pristine beauty that is Alaska being tarnished and dirtied by oil and the efforts that are being made to clean it all up at any cost

Bob Hallinen of Anchorage Daily News originally took this image and published it on April 13, 1989. This was published just 20 days following the oil beginning spill on March 24, 1989. Having this image in an Alaska paper was very close to the source of the oil spill, which allowed the people who were geographically close to be able to see what was happening to the Sound. The context of creating this image was meant to show the people of Alaska what was happening and how the oil company had fail allowing the oil to spill onto the shorelines. This image also brings the horror and the lack of ability to clean the spill to the surface. This is due to the men using absorbent cloths to clean the oil from the rocks on the shore. Tom Horton then again used this image on December 14, 1989 in Rolling Stones. This was 265 days following the oil beginning to spill on March 24, 1989.

This source could have been created to bring what was actually happening to light. The amount of oil that had been spilled if not seen is hard to think about due to the technical language that was used. The area where it was spilled was so fragile that without seeing an image of what was happening you would never know. The purpose of this image was to shock and bring to light what was happening within Prince William Sound following the oil being spilled into the sound.

Although there are other images from the Exxon Valdez oil spill this image shows many truths regarding the oil spill. This image shows the truth about the landscape and how fragile it is. The truth about how much oil was leaked and thus where all this oil ended up on the rocky shorelines. The truths that this spilled oil had to be cleaned by hand with absorbent cloths from the rocks. The truth that this was a disaster and was not going to be fixed by simply skimming the oil from the surface of the water, it had in fact become to larger for that. Although this image shows many truths the source of the image is one that is relatively close being from Alaska. The methods that are used for this image are strong as they show the truths of the oil spill, but also the hard work that it is going to take to clean it all up. The image shows this through the people cleaning the oil by hand. The methods that are present within this image are effective in proving the truths about this oil spill while also making an impact on those who seeing it.



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