Skip to Main Content

The Digital Student

Media Literacy

Analysing an image

1. LOOK – what are your initial impressions?​

2. READ - Read the text about the image if there is any.​

3. EXAMINE - What does the text add to your understanding e.g. background​

4. DESCRIBE – what does the text add to your description and understanding of the image?​

5. CHECK UNDERSTANDING – what else do you need to know more about e.g. date photo was taken; where it was taken etc.

Image taken from: Brown, N. et al. (2016) Visual literacy for libraries: a practical, standards-based guide. London: Facet Publishing, p.3, illus.

Meanings of an image

Cultural and Social Context

  • Consider time period, medium and subject matter
  • How does the image represent people?
    • Individually? Representatives of a group?
  • Consider relationships among people and objects
  • Think about social and economic status

Suggestion and Metaphor

  • Image's impact can come from use of suggestion / metaphor
  • Consider the context of the image
  • Image may have symbolic meaning

Use text to analyse images

Captions and

textual information


  • Usually accompanies the image
  • Information about a collection the image is part of
  • Formal description
  • Names of rights holders
  • Information about the time period, geographic locations etc.

Fake News

Fake News LibGuide





Our Fake News LIbGuide can help you determine whether the media you are using is reliable