Media’s role cannot be emphasized enough, and indeed, rightly so. The world is a much better place with the evolution of media mediums as we know them. From a reformation of the traditional mediums such as televised and radio programming to the relatively newer mediums of social media and other internet platforms. Of all these mediums the visual elements tend to have the most impact on the audience. Numerous case studies throughout history have exhibited this fact. The capture and depiction of Aylan Kurdi’s very unfortunate death triggered a flood of reactions from the European populace which was otherwise immune to the innumerable fatalities piling up ever since the start of Syrian civil war is just one recent example. Visual speaks a lot louder than words. However, it is important that the audience does not give in to the loudness alone. The content too is important.

Much like fast food, visuals are more suited for these chaotically fast lives that we live in this time and age. Apparently, as is the reasoning given by many, there is not enough time to read. Visuals hence manage to do what the words would otherwise take considerable time and effort to consume. That said, the words are indeed powerful tools as well. They restrict the abstractness and subjectivity of a scenario both of which become dominating factors in a visual representation. Words are able to contextualize and in that way, make a better sense of the situation. However, as has been stated above, most people don’t find time to dwell into the world of words.

As goes the very redundant cliché: with power comes responsibility. Visual representation too hence requires a certain amount of responsibility. Visual representation takes into account the process of remediation wherein layers of traditional methods of representation combine with more contemporary and artistic forms. However this mesh does have its problems. As the artist/camera person adds layers of both under and overtones in the image, adding layers of imagery, the distance between the actual image and the final audience increases. Hence, the final image displayed and registered in the retina of the audience is significantly non-similar, if not different from the original image.

The way out is simple: decrease the amount of layering in order to most accurately represent the original image. However, this is easier said than done, for what this way-out is in fact demanding is elimination of itself (the medium) from the process of imaging. In order to make the audience most relate to the image, the camera lens hence needs to disappear.

The said remediation hence branches out into two approaches, both depending on how successful the lens has been at eliminating its presence within the imagery. A picture with immediacy elements succeeds in the process resulting in a process that is more transparent, in the broader sense live, coherent and true in its representation of the original object. Such imagery attempts can be rightly termed as aesthetics of transparency that succeed to deny their own interventions within the process of capturing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, images with a lot of noise and layers tend to have elements of hypermediacy in them. These images hence are relatively opaque as compared to their more transparent counterparts. Similarly, they seem more sampled, fragmented, mediated and tend to be more edited. Such images have undertones of content at times hidden, at times, obvious, within their representations. This type of imagery hence can be termed as an aesthetic of intervention, conversing with the audience, nudging it to feel rather than allowing the audience to make its own decisions. Clearly, the former fails at what it attempts to do in the first place: capture the image in all its rawness.

The aforementioned differences are important for the audience of the media mediums to know. It is important for the layperson to understand the way and measure that can manipulate both the imagery as well as the ways of thinking of an audience. In this day and age where the common person is over exposed to the influx of news, views, opinions and imageries of all sort, sorting and filtering what is finally viewed is of paramount importance. Conscious decision making must be applied in all attempts of seeking entertainment or infotainments in order to avoid gullibility and presumptuousness. This is especially important in the case of Pakistan. The common Pakistani, conventionally educated or otherwise, tends not to have the time to read. Hence the popularity of imagery mediums. With the many channels available as broadcasts, it is important for the viewer to recognize the layers that these channels employ to push content within the imageries. A more conscious Pakistani would be a saner Pakistani if s/he scrutinizes the content at display. After all, absorbing information is almost a religious experience and the purer it is, the better.