Rhetoric of Every Runner has a reason

The main goal of the rhetoric used in this video is to humanize Ronnie (the runner). People who are homeless in the country are almost treated like second class citizens so the director uses a variety of techniques to make Ronnie look inspirational and appeal to the viewer’s emotions.

From the very first shot and voice over we here at the start of the video, the director immediately sets the tone for the rest of the video. We immediately hear Ronnie voice which sets a distinctive tone of Ronnie having his voice of the video of himself. Throughout the entire video we only see Ronnie. There are no cuts to the director or different narrator attempting to talk about Ronnie’s experiences. These decisions portray how unique Ronnie’s voice is and that he could be the only one to recall his story with the emotional depth that Ronnie and the director wanted to draw from his life.

In regards to the various camera elements in use during the video, a large portion of the video uses medium-close ups of Ronnie’s face and medium-close ups as he is running which, one again, drive home the fact that this video is all about Ronnie. Shots that are not of Ronnie are usually long shots of the environment that he is running in or close-ups of the environment to create an appeal to emotion towards Ronnie and the life he lives.

The lighting used in the video is extremely bright throughout. This is used to show how positive Ronnie’s attitude is towards his situation. Even though he had been addicted to hard drugs, had been in prison, and is now homeless, running gives his life a new image that he is incredibly grateful for, further reinforcing an appeal to emotion.

I think the video is very effective in appealing to people’s emotions. A man who has had a tough life but is able to push past it by running. The story is tragic yet hopeful, being able to inspire hope out of Ronnie’s situation and show that he is not giving up.

Do you think there are any appeal to ethics or reason in the video? If so, where?


Blog Prompt #3

Choose one of the four “documentary portraits” we watched for class last week (Amar (All Great Achievements Require Time) / A Brief History of John Baledessari / Odysseus’ Gambit, Every Runner has a reason, Delivery ) and write a detailed compositional (aesthetic and affects) and rhetorical analysis of its approach to audio-visual storytelling. Draw attention to one or two specific strategies you see the director using in constructing the piece’s argument and discuss how those strategies are working to tell a particular kind of story — with a particular tone or message — in a way that responds to the particular life being documented. Consider what affect the documentary creates and how that affect was crafted, through what available means of persuasion. Also, think about what ideas you might take away from this video as you begin to plan and produce your own video portrait.

Remember: We always want to think *with* the medium. How does this story get told in this medium? Effectively or not?

Looking forward to reading your ideas and thoughts.


dr. c

How Archives Actually Work

Archivists determine how information is catalogued and therefore understood by the public. Additionally, archivists deliberately choose what goes into the archive and what does not for a number of reasons. These include insufficient data from the source material, data being unable to be formatted or converted for the archive, or the belief that some of the data is simply unnecessary. Consequently, archivists selecting certain information or data for documentation creates a new wealth of knowledge in the archive.

This process illustrates the arrangement of the archive and demonstrates why archivists make certain decisions that lead the creation of the archive and how they become part of the archive as well. Thus, when working on group projects such as Documenting a Citizen, digital media makers who work on video production and graphic images have to decide what gets cut out and what gets left in the editing process. If a clip of the citizen in question is cut down from twenty to ten minutes for editorial reasons still complete? Is a shot depicting the citizen in a different perspective than usual inaccurate? When the video portrait is complete, parts of it have been removed and altered and the result is a product that is eventually archived, does it still count?

As time goes on, archivization will become more advanced and there will be several complex methods of categorizing information. Choices will be made on what to include in futuristic archives and the necessity of documentation more prominent. Therefore, these two important questions we will need to ask ourselves when generating archives: what information is not included and why.

Last night my friend, Aly, came home from being away for the weekend. My other friend, Monica, and I sat with her in commons trying to fill her in on all she had missed. Monica and I were in tears due to our laughter, there are just some things you need to experience yourself. Experience is defined as “to encounter or undergo,” to experience can be to view a picture. As humans, we react to visual stimuli. We can put ourselves into a moment with a simple image. I turned to Monica and told her that us and all of our friends needed to start taking more pictures.

I understand a normal college weekend is not a memory I may want to cherish forever, we have 3 and a half more years of these same weekends. Weekends that Aly won’t have to miss. Despite the older generations protestation of mass social media and the bragging aspect of our oversharing; they seem to forget that sitting around and telling memorable stories has been around since the dawn of time. Why should we be bashed for being able to enhance the mental image of the person we are sharing the story with by providing an actual image? There are so many pictures I wish I had taken.

In 11th grade I did an experiment where I tasted a green, orange and grape liquid, not knowing what any of them actually were. The entirety of the class guessed that the green was apple flavored, orange was orange and purple was grape. My teacher later revealed that all three of the drinks were just sprite with food coloring. Humans trust their sight the most when compared to all other senses. On the first day of class we read about a suffering family with a violent father. Many agreed with the fact that the photographer did not take the photo. When I scroll down my Facebook feed or a news source. I am drawn to the articles with pictures. If that photographer had taken the photo and drawn attention to this community of suffrage, maybe other children could have been saved.

Archiving The Memories

There are many experience throughout life that I wish I would have been able to archive and make a memory out of. Not to say that simply because it was not recorded or photographed that it was not a reality but i can no longer live in that moment when i look at a picture. Archiving these events will benefit later on in life when im old and wrinkly and I want to remember when I moved into my first college dorm or got my first car (two moments that I was not able to photograph).

For my photograph not taken, I described how I wish I could have gotten a video or a picture of me moving in to my dorm because how can I really remember that day and all of its feeling without a photo to look back on. But technically, I have a photo (in my brain) that i can look back on and remember the day and all of its craziness. I can remember the nervousness and the frightening feeling that still seems to come over me when I think about that day. How will I be able to explain these feelings to someone who was not there even if I show them a picture? Is this how archives work?

In Erika Larsen’s “Photograph Not Taken” , the example og the father losing his daughter was not photographed but it did not make it less significant or less real to those who were living through it. This is the same concept with the my memories that were not photographed, although I did not get an archive of them it does not make it less real for me that I’m in college (struggling) and on to my second car. This is not to say that archives are not important as emphasized in Marlene Manoff’s “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines”.



The Archive: Manipulated

In Erika Larsen’s “Photograph Not Taken”, she shares a story about a time when she was documenting the recent suicide of a local 17-year-old girl. And in that process, there was a moment where the father completely opened up his emotions and the perfect photo presented itself. And there was no shutter click. She could not bring herself to take that photo. She had earlier shared her philosophy pertaining to that photo which is that when taking a photo, that creates a moment not only for the photographer, but also for the person being photographed. These are the moments that determine the make-up of the archive. The photographer must walk the fine line of documenting anything worthy of being seen by others while also respecting privacy in situations where it is required. In this way, their archive is not the full story. There are moments like the one Larsen shared that will never be shared with anybody else. Their archive is not crystal clear, but rather out of focus.

This “out of focus” aspect is touched on in Marlene Manoff’s “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines” in the subheading titled “The Transparency of the Archive”. There are legitimate questions that call into question the accuracy of the various archives throughout history. No matter how it was recorded, the archived piece is from a particular point of view and it “. . . cannot provide transparent access to the events themselves.” (Manoff). You will never get the full picture because the archivist either purposely leaves out information, or their lack of knowledge prevents them from telling the full story. When the British first arrived in the new world, John Smith recorded his experience being saved from execution by the Native American princess Pocahontas. Historians, however, have come to realize that this was most likely a ceremony for him being recognized as a leader of a new Indian tribe, not an execution. Smith’s lack of knowledge of the local tribes inhibited his ability to clearly document what happened. However, for centuries, his inaccurate archival stood as fact. Taking Dennis Wood literally, for decades and at various points, inaccurate maps were archived as fact for many European countries. For a while, the records showed that the world was flat, not round. The records showed that Columbus had found Asia, but the continents of the Americas.


The photo above shows how easily an archivist can distort, in this case a photo, anything they want, even written documentation. It is easy to edit the original photo to tell the story of two drastically different events.

Digital media makers nowadays have the even greater responsibility of documenting worthwhile, accurate information. With the internet, as digital media archivist, we have a wide variety of resources to confirm and back up information we publish. We have a responsibility not to mislead. Why, in the information age, do we still have creators still publishing inaccurate information?


The Intimacy of Archiving

To make record of a moment is to fundamentally alter the moment that one wishes to record. The act of recording creates a tension between the archivist and the moment in the present that is being recorded. This tension exists because an archivist records information in the present, in order for people in the future to examine the past. Instead of the archivist simply “living in the moment” they are constantly making judgments about who and what might be relevant in the future. As Derrida has suggested these judgments result in the archivist creating a moment rather than just recording it. When an archivist is recording another human being, they cannot only consider how they are producing the moment but must also take great care in the creation and depiction of the human subject.

The relationship between the archivist and the archived individual is intimate. The archived exposes their self (or some part of their self) to the possibility of being recorded eternally. The archived individual risks much by allowing the archivist to take this piece of them and preserve it. There is always the chance for mischaracterization, inaccuracy, or dishonesty, on the part of the archivist and the poor portrayal of the archived could do permanent damage to the subject or subjects being recorded. In return for the risk being taken by the archived, the archivist must be held responsible to truthfully record a moment to the best of their abilities.

In Erika Larsen’s “Photograph not Taken” piece, Larsen writes about her decision not to record an image of a man experiencing a moment of great heartbreak as he reflects on the suicide of his daughter and the death of his mother. The moment of grief and grace was pure and to record it as it was happening would be to alter and adulterate it. Larsen writes “I put down the camera; the moment was his.” She knew that if she recorded and became a producer of this moment that she would on some level diminish the beauty and intimacy of the moment.