The Kodak Camera

The introduction of the first Kodak camera in 1888 marked a new era of photography. Consumers no longer needed to be dependent on professional photographers as people could now capture their own special moments using this simple, user-friendly device. However, without the use of advertisements, the Kodak camera would not have been able to receive as much support from the public and be easily integrated into modern-day life. By looking over past Kodak advertisements, I was able to analyze how different layouts and methods of rhetoric could elicit varying messages towards consumers. Moreover, by comparing and contrasting the ads, I was able to perceive a collective message and distinguish a fixed trend.

The first advertisement was published in a magazine in 1888. This advertisement appears to be directed towards an adult audience as the entire ad is filled with heavy text and few graphics. Furthermore, the content presented in the ad contains standard, mundane information about the product. Therefore, this advertisement lacks the visual appeal that is vital for grabbing the attention of a younger audience. The ad also assumes that its customers have the wealth and time to go travelling when appealing the notion that the product can assemble “a picturesque diary” of one’s trip to Europe and expedition to the mountains. Moreover, the ad also presumes that consumers are active and enjoy outdoor activities. The advertisement emphasizes how the product is easily operated when beginning the first paragraph with the sentence, “Anybody who can wind a watch can use the Kodak Camera.” Instead of simply stating that the product is straightforward and easy to use, the ad makes a greater impact on the audience as it connects the function of the camera to the effortless task of winding a watch. The ad also incorporates words such as “anybody” and “amateur” to further instill this point. It is evident that this advertisement targets nonprofessionals as the description of the product is clear and comprehensible with no use of jargon; however, I do not believe that this ad would attract people who have absolutely no knowledge and initial interest of the product. The unattractive, text-filled layout makes it difficult for people to skim through the dense information and grasp a quick summary upon a first glance. Although the large illustration of the camera at the top of the advertisement provides a quick and clear visual-representation of the product, it is not enough to trigger the curiosity of the audience to continue reading.

The 1893 advertisement from Harper’s magazine shows an image of a man dogsledding at the North Pole. The ad describes how Lieutenant Peary was able to attain a more memorable experience from his recent expedition due to the Kodak camera. The ad presents a personal reflection by Lieut. Peary as he states, “I regard the Kodak as responsible for having obtained a series of pictures which in quality and quantity exceed any that have been brought back.” Instead of directly marketing the product itself, this ad focuses on the practical uses and aspects of the device by presenting how the Kodak has already been able to play a huge role in someone’s life. Furthermore, the ad not only paints a picture in the audience’s mind, but also physically shows a detailed illustration of the scene. The layout of the illustration causes the audience to slowly move their attention towards the text as the sled dogs encircle the square text, positioned in the middle of the page. This advertisement is directed towards individuals who share an interest in adventure and enjoy travelling. Furthermore, the advertisement also assumes that its audience is already familiar with the product as it does not mention or specify how the device appears and functions.

The final advertisement is from Judge Magazine, published in 1900. The ad is composed of a drawing of a person holding a Kodak camera in his or her pocket. At the top of the ad, the heading, “Take a Kodak home for Christmas” is written in bold letters. The layout of the ad creates a vertical progression down the page as the audience is directed to more text regarding the physical features of the product and the price listing situated at the bottom left hand corner. This advertisement encourages its audience that the Kodak camera is the perfect gift for the holidays. Furthermore, the ad also appeals the product’s light and portable size using an illustration of a Kodak being able to fit in a coat pocket. This ad is targeted towards individuals with higher incomes as the ad assumes that its customers can afford to gift such a luxurious toy. Alike the second ad, the advertisement presumes that its audience has basic knowledge of the product as the full device is neither explained nor shown.

After a thorough analysis of the advertisements, I noticed a similarity among the three ads. I realized that each ad uses rhetoric appeals to help portray the lightweight, convenient, and compact quality of the product. The first ad uses logos when mentioning the physical measurements, such as the size and weight, to highlight the portable feature of the device. Similar to the first ad, the second advertisement highlights the convenient quality of the product through ethos. The ad tries to gain the trust and respect of the audience by establishing the fact that Lieut. Perry was the first white man to explore an uncharted region in the ice caps. Moreover, the advertisement incorporates a quote by Lieut. Perry in order to substantiate this narration. Lastly, the final ad uses pathos in order to appeal to the emotions of its customers. By connecting the product to a holiday gift, the ad establishes a sense of warmth and giving. Not only does the ad underline the compact, mobile quality of the product, it also instills the idea of giving someone the gift of capturing his or her most memorable moments.

These advertisements encouraged the trend for people to become more active and to partake in outdoor activities. With this new device, taking photographs was no longer viewed as a tedious and expensive process. People could now not only take their own photographs, but also bring their Kodak cameras anywhere they wanted. The Kodak camera was ultimately able to knock down the conventional views of traditional photography through the use of these advertisements. The first two advertisements convey the benefits of engaging in a more active lifestyle by advocating the notion of creating memoirs through photographs. Moreover, the third ad uses a coat as a symbol of leaving the house while subtly indicating that the Kodak camera is a device used for the outdoors. Therefore, these three ads help portray the camera as a stepping-stone for people to live more dynamic lives.

Works Cited

 

Kodak. “The Kodak Camera”. Advertisement. Outing Magazine.1888. Duke U. Libraries Digital Collections. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

Kodak. “The Kodak at the North Pole”. Advertisement. Harper’s. 1893. Duke U. Libraries Digital Collections. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

Kodak. “Take a Kodak Home for Christmas”. Advertisement. Judge. 1900. Duke U. Libraries Digital Collections. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

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Transcendence

To my fellow classmates,

I believe that the movie Transcendence would be an excellent addition to this class. This science-fiction thriller encompasses many of our core topics regarding the relationship between technology and the senses. Therefore, I strongly encourage for this film to be incorporated in future material as I am convinced that many meaningful discussions will take place.

The film revolves around the actions of world-renown Artificial Intelligence researcher, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp). Along with his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and confidant Max Waters (Paul Bettany), Will has dedicated his entire life in building a sentient computer in order to reach and discover technological singularity. His project is put to a halt when he is poisoned by an extremist group called “Revolutionary Independence From Technology” (R.I.F.T). Evelyn and Max are shocked to hear that Will only has one month left to live. Evelyn struggles to let Will go and ends up connecting Will’s consciousness to the A.I. computer. The transfer is successful and later Will’s soul is spread throughout the Internet, giving him access to unlimited information. His increasing knowledge enables him to become more powerful and controlling. He then begins to alter human biology causing Evelyn and the government to question Will’s motives on “making the world a better place.”

This work would allow the class to reflect on the rightful role that technology should play in our lives. Similar to the discussion on the film Her, the class would be able to deliberate and talk about whether or not the power and knowledge provided by technology is humane and acceptable. However, I believe that a more debatable discussion can occur, as this film remains neutral on the subject of artificial intelligence by brilliantly portraying the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the argument. This allows the class to attain a personal and individual stance on the topic that will result for more thought-provoking discussions to take place. Furthermore, the film also ties in well with our unit on logos, pathos, and ethos. The film uses rhetorical appeals to help strengthen its argument that causes the audience to either agree or disagree with its point. Therefore, viewing the movie would be a great exercise to investigate and analyze the incorporations of these rhetorical devices.

This film would not only be very entertaining to watch, but would also greatly contribute to this class. The class would be able to discuss and analyze both the content and the portrayal of the movie and relate it back to many of the topics covered in the course.

The End of Soylent

After reading the article “The End of Food,” I tried to imagine a world where culture and tradition associated with food do not exist; a world with no need for kitchens, dinner tables, and long grocery lists. This spine-chilling thought led to the development of my proposal and I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

The movie will take place in a fictional universe where Soylent, a powdery, nutrient-filled drink, was discovered and implemented in society early on in history. In this world, food is not viewed as a cultural act, but solely as a necessity that the body demands for survival. Food and cooking are frowned upon by the public and are viewed as wasting resources and valuable energy. A young boy in his teenage years will be the main character of the film. This boy has secretly developed a passion for food and begins experimenting through cooking and developing his own recipes. Since there are no kitchens and cooking tools in this alternate universe, the boy must build his own fires and innovate his own kitchen utensils and appliances. He decides to record his food creations in a journal and makes sure to keep his recipes hidden. One day his parents discover the journal and try to convince the boy to find another passion. The boy hesitates on whether to follow his parents’ advice and to stop conducting his experiments. After days of feeling lost and trying to find his place in life, he realizes that he must continue on his passion for cooking and share the wonders of food to the world. The boy comes across an advertisement of a prestigious invention competition. This competition is not your typical television show, but an event where contestants are given the opportunity to introduce their innovations and compete through many rigorous stages. This contest is extremely powerful as it is watched by the entire world and has the ability to trigger immense trends and fads. Moreover, the winning invention of the competition can ultimately change history, as it did with Solvent (which was also a past winning innovation). When the boy first enters this competition, he is mocked and ridiculed by the judges and the other contestants. They remind him that this competition is not a joke and should not be taken lightly. However, all these negative remarks are immediately put to an end after the judges taste his cooking. They are amazed by his recipes and are introduced to the cultural aspects surrounding food. The boy later wins the competition and makes “real” food a vast trend and changes the way the world views the purpose of eating. His journal filled with recipes is published as a cooking book and is read by millions of people. The movie ends with scenes of people cooking all over the world and the opening of the boy’s restaurant where he is able to freely practice his cooking.

I am confident that this movie will be a huge hit as it appeals to a wide range of audiences. The film will take place as an animation with a sci-fi setting, allowing for the entire family to enjoy this action-filled comedy. The movie would have a great comedic charm, as it would appeal to the audience when the boy stumbles through funny scenarios that would cause him to discover hundreds of our favorite recipes such as pasta, sushi, and pizza. It would also be funny to see the process of the boy making these simple, common-day meals through an almost caveman-like approach. Furthermore, many past award-winning movies, such as the Hunger Games series and Pitch Perfect, have proven the popularity of competition themed plot lines. Therefore, I believe that this movie has great potential and will allow the audience to reflect upon the purpose and meaning of food in his or her life.

The “Itch” Chair

The “Itch” chair is a device that allows users to scratch their backs through minimal movement. The touchpad, hidden under the seat, connects the motion of one’s fingers to an automated fingernail located at the back of the chair. Not only can users determine the position of itchiness, they are also able to control the intensity and pressure of the scratch. Furthermore, this gadget also comes with a great assortment of mechanical fingernails in order for users to customize their “Itch” chair experience.

When I first saw a picture of this contraption, I was very disappointed. I thought the device would look futuristic and different from the standard chair. I was displeased with its orthodox design as it diminished the special abilities this chair holds. In addition to its bland presentation, the “Itch” chair looks stiff and uncomfortable. I think the chair would feel hard and resistant to any flexibility, limiting users to have a relaxing experience. I do not think it would be necessary for me to use this device on a regular basis as it would require the same energy for me to physically scratch my back. Furthermore, I personally do not think that I encounter many instances where I am in dire need of assistance when experiencing an itch.

Some practical benefits include restricted movement when scratching one’s back, especially for people who are not physically able and for those who suffer from serious back irritations. A shortfall of this mechanism can be the fact that this object does not present any further benefits that would be far superior over the human action of scratching one’s back. The device does not offer a more relieving scratching technique as it incorporates the same human motion using an artificial finger.

Overall, I think this device holds an interesting design that helps introduce the idea of technology assisting even the most uncomplicated tasks. Although this object does not greatly change the way people perceive things, it holds an interesting concept that allows us to reflect on the potential applications of technology in our daily lives.

The Power of Research

Ever since I was young, I had a keen interest in cars. I cannot recall what exactly initiated this deep fascination, however I remember being so excited to go on long road trips where I could gaze out the window and observe all kinds of different vehicles zooming by. I was fascinated by everything; the sounds of their engines, their shiny exteriors, and the extensive spectrum of the different shapes and sizes they came in absolutely intrigued me. However, as I got older, I began to focus on the internal components of cars. I realized that a car is so much more than a “pretty exterior” and began to analyze vehicles in greater depth. This sparked my interest in weighing the pros and cons of each car and comparing different models in order to answer my greatest wonder: what is the best car in the world?

A few years ago, a family friend came over for dinner and began to talk about a car he was dying to purchase. I immediately gave my full attention as the car company he mentioned was one that I had not heard of. As he was describing the car, I was amazed by its abilities; however, what I was absolutely blown away by was the fact that this vehicle was an electric car.

Although I originally stated that I had an admiration for cars, I cannot say that this respect was extended towards all types of cars, especially electricity powered vehicles. I had a bias against electric cars as being slow and untrustworthy and could not imagine them being superior to the standard gas-powered car. However, when I was introduced to the up and coming car company, Tesla Motors, I immediately felt compelled to research more about their vehicles. I turned on my computer and began endlessly finding out information about this new company.

I found out that Tesla Motors is a privately run electric car company established in 2003 by world renown businessman and innovator, Elon Musk. The company was founded in order to prove to the world that electric vehicles could be awesome. What makes Tesla Cars stand out from other electric cars are their uniquely designed batteries developed from Lithium-ion cell technology. These specialized batteries completely knocked down my impression of electric cars as being inadequate as they hold better power than most gas-powered vehicles. I also discovered that not only are Tesla Cars more cost-efficient due to the free power charges at any of the Tesla charging stations in the world, but also environmentally friendly as this electric car releases zero emissions and can use electricity produced from any resource.

Through my research, I realized how ignorant I was towards new, alternative methods, not only about electric cars, but also towards life in general. I realized that I had never been an individual who was comfortable with change and I was disappointed and ashamed by my close-mindedness. I felt my research was complete when I was able to self-reflect about my actions and realized the infinite benefits that come with being open-minded and accepting of all possibilities.

The Adventure of the Cardboard Box Analysis

In my opinion, literature cannot be confined to a single definition. A piece of writing should not be evaluated on the basis of meeting certain “requirements” associated with the norms of most conventional literary works. Therefore, I believe that the short story, “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box,” written by Sir Author Conan Doyle fulfills my expectations about literature.

The definition of literature is a subjective perception, causing its interpretation to be inevitably transformed overtime. Thinking back to my years at high school, I remember studying pieces such as 1984, The Lord of the Flies, and Of Mice and Men. These novels consisted of dense sentences that would need to be overlooked at least three times and a myriad of hidden meanings associated with a single colour or object. If I were asked to classify The Adventure of the Cardboard Box at the time I was studying one of the listed novels, I would have most likely disagreed that the work should be considered as literature. Looking back, I do not think that any of my English teachers had ever defined what makes a written piece a literary work. I feel as if the definition of literature was progressively ingrained in my mind as a dull, slow piece of writing with an overload of unnecessary metaphors; therefore, I would have never imagined that an exhilarating, action-packed murder-mystery novel could ever be deemed as literature.

When reading the prompt, I was given the opportunity to reflect the definition of literature as a college student. I was surprised by my contrasting opinion and open-minded reflection as I was able to characterize this Sherlock Holmes story as a literary work. Although, upon a cursory examination, the short story may seem to possess completely different qualities from other well-known literary pieces, it shares a major ability to allow readers to appreciate the beauty of language. This short story is not based on heavy topics such as politics or religion. This short story does not incorporate a never-ending list of complex vocabulary terms. This short story is not written figuratively and does not have an extensive bank of literary devices. However, this short story engages readers to appreciate and reflect on language and its intricacy, which I hope to believe is the aspiration of all writers.

Looking into Theodore’s Job

In the movie Her, Theodore’s occupation conveys a familiar, but provoking message. Theodore works for a letter-composing company called Beautiful Handwritten Letters where he has the task of constructing letters on behalf of his clients. It is obvious that this job was presented in the film with the expectation that the audience would react in pure, utter shock. The notion behind Theodore’s job seems inexplicable as the whole objective of writing letters to express and exchange genuine emotions is lost; however, what difference does the role of social networking in modern society play in the process of developing intimate connections with other human beings?

Over the course of the film, the audience is able to realize that Theodore’s job is not something undercover or kept in secret. The company he works for has hundreds of clients and composes letters of all kinds, from birthday messages to personal love letters. At one point in the movie, Theodore’s letters are even offered to be published as a book, further supporting the fact that this occupation is not considered to be out of the norms within the setting of the film. I believe that the audience would react very uncomfortably towards the Beautiful Handwritten Letters company. It would be quite difficult for anyone in our society to grasp and fully accept the concept of a professional letter writer to express our individual and raw sentiments. Many would probably be outraged if they had received a “professionally-composed” letter as the words written on the paper would become absolutely meaningless.

Although my initial reaction to Theodore’s job was similar to that of the expected, I was able to gradually draw a connection between his occupation and the current role social networking plays in our society. I recall the years when texting was frowned upon by the older generation. They viewed it as another foolish trend along video games and television for teenagers to become further distracted and distant from their families. However, as technological advancements were made in cellular devices, texting was no longer viewed as an irrelevant means of communication, but something people of all ages could participate in. Through this phenomenon, social networking services flourished, uprising a positive reaction from the general public. Today, social networking is not perceived as an inhibitor of communication, but a grand source where ideas and messages can be exchanged and shared all over the world.

After deeply reflecting on Theodore’s job, I was able to realize how social networking is still not a natural method of expressing true, genuine emotions between human beings. How can mentioning a friend in a post along with the hash tag, #bestbirthdaygiftever, be compared to physically meeting up with that friend and expressing your thankfulness over a cup of coffee? How can a few heart emoticons be possibly compared to the sentiments conveyed when someone says the words “I love you?”

I believe Theodore is given this job for the audience to think not only about the way they communicate with others, but also the way in which they connect with other people. In the film, Theodore’s occupation becomes a mirror where viewers are able to see themselves composing the same unintimate messages they express in their own realities and are given the opportunity to reflect their actions.

Citations

Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. Perf. Joaquin Phoeniz, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson. Annapurna Pictures,2013. Film.

Blog Revision: Code-switching

Code-switching remains as an unconscious practice in society. It occurs in almost every situation, no matter the time and place. For those still yet unaware of this timeless expression, code-switching, defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of languages in conversation.” In other words, it is when an individual adjusts their behavior depending on the setting or audience. For example, a form of code-switching would be the way you act differently around your boss compared to the way you would treat your younger sibling. Code-switching also occurs when you change your tone of voice attending a formal dinner compared to when you are having a girls’ night out with your closest friends. It is important to note that code-switching does not necessarily suggest that you are pretending to be someone else. It is simply a habitual behavior that causes you to bring out certain traits of your personality more than others, allowing you to transform and adapt to any situation.

Numerous forms of code-switching may be exemplified in this week’s recommended film entitled Pillow Talk, starring Rock Hudson and Dorris Day.

In this 1959 romantic comedy film, Brad Allen (Rex Hudson) is a successful music composer and womanizer living a luxurious life in New York City. However, with a simple change in accent, Brad suddenly transforms into Rex Stetson, an innocent countryman all the way from Texas. By faking a new accent, Brad is able to grasp a different persona and trick Jan Morrow (Dorris Day) into believing that he is not the “sex-manic” living upstairs but an inexperienced new-comer to the city life. Brad first takes on his identity as Rex when he encounters Jan at a nightclub. When the two finally begin to talk, Brad suddenly introduces himself in a Texan accent in order to hide his identity.

Through the use of code-switching, the audience is able to see Brad in an entirely different light. He is no longer the playboy who would make phone calls with multiple women, but an innocent and selfless man. Although Brad presented absolutely superb acting skills, his Texan accent was the key factor in his complete change of image. His accent sparked a myriad of stereotypes that caused Jan to misperceive the real “Rex Stetson.”

Jan immediately fell in love with Rex’s mysterious nature. Since he came from a completely different background, she was attracted to his foreign views and values. Immediately after their first meeting, Jan loved how different he was from the other men she had met and wanted to help him adjust to the city.

Brad’s accent not only gave him a nonnative image, but also made it seem as if he were more accustomed to the rural, nature life. This made him look as if he were an innocent man with great inexperience with women. His Texan accent allowed him to speak in a softer tone and helped portray himself as “the perfect gentleman.”

Through the simple practice of code-switching, Brad is able to make astonishing transformations throughout the movie. By taking on a new accent, Brad was able to act differently from his normal self and slowly become more immersed in the character of Rex. This film not only strengthens the audience’s view on the power of code switching, but also allows them to understand the complex nature of human beings.

So the next time, you notice yourself changing your tone of voice or thinking longer about choosing the right words, don’t worry, it’s not the nerves. You are just code-switching.