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Erin Dietel-McLaughlin 13300-09 11 October 2013 The Sadland In Terry Evans photography series The Heartland, she displays photographs that show the impact oil companies have on the environment and society in the Midwest. Though her work can be seen as simply depictive, her work can also be considered as highly ideological. Terry Evans specifically chose where, how, and what to include in each of her pictures so that she could get a desired response from viewers of the exhibit. Using James Herricks definition of rhetoric as the systematic study and intentional practice of effective symbolic expression(7), such an exhibit as this would therefore be a rhetorical expression and persuasive argument. This paper will identify the rhetorical strategies used in the Heartland by closely examining one of the photographs, Oil pipeline near White Earth, ND. Using this analysis this paper will argue that through the use of rhetorical strategies, Oil pipeline near White Earth, ND in The Heartland collection by Terry Evans, elicits negative emotional responses from the viewers towards oil companies. The contrast in Oil pipeline near White Earth, ND plays an important role in influencing the viewers interpretation. The photograph depicts an aerial view of a large grassland with rolling hills. There is a vertical ditch cut through the middle of the hill with a tiny pipeline laid in the center of the ditch where it is being laid. The photo has a sharp contrast as the viewer scans their eyes across the page going from a bright, vivid green to a dull brown in an instant. There is a clear line where the grass stops and the dirt of the ditch begins. As Judith

Granberry 2 Lancioni, a scholar in the rhetoric of photography, states, the meaning [of a rhetorical argument] comes from interaction between the visual object and the viewer a viewer attributes meaning [and] invites certain responses and discourages others(106). There is no explicit argument stated but the contrast in the vibrant green and dead brown draws on the viewers love of beauty and nature. This sharp jump in color does not seem right to the eyes or natural. Where the hills have natural curving and irregular patterns running through them, the ditch is just a straight line that cuts straight through the graceful arcs of the hills. Herrick argues that a rhetorical argument is an argument built from values, beliefs, or knowledge held in common by a speaker and an audience(9). Terry Evans connects this love of nature and beauty and puts it in danger of being destroyed. The viewer feels sad that such beauty is getting destroyed and angry at the oil companies. In appealing to our emotions she points us to the conclusion that oil companies are destroying our environment. The composition of the photo is also an important factor of how the viewer is influenced by the picture. In other words what Terry Evans decided to have in the picture and what to leave out, as well as the angle of the photograph. The photograph is from an aerial view such that a large area is seen. This view would not normally be accessible to someone looking at the ditch from ground level. This aerial view shows the immensity of the ditch cutting through the hills. The viewer can tell how massive this ditch is by a small telephone pole near the top of the photograph as well as the tiny machinery in the ditch that would both be very large up close. The pipeline is a thin line that barely be seen in the middle of the ditch drawing the question from the viewer of why this ditch is so large in the first place. As Lancioni says a rhetorical piece should have the spectator as an active participant in the making of meaning(106). Many viewers would logically analyze what is actually in the photograph and what is left out and come to some

Granberry 3 sense of it. When looked at this way, Terry Evans purpose is quite obvious. She specifically chose this angle to show the magnitude of the destruction and included enough beauty and ugliness to draw out anger and sadness from the viewers. Finally, how Terry Evans frames the photographs in this exhibit is probably the most obvious way to determine how these photos are highly ideological and are meant to illustrate a criticism of the oil companies. As Judith Lancioni, a scholar in the rhetoric of photography, states, The photographs are authentic. The people and places they depict did in fact exist. But the manner of presentation calls attention to itself, encouraging viewers to pay attention to the construction of the photographs and to the ways construction and reconstruction affect meaning(106). Starting with the title of the exhibit, The Heartland connects the heart to the land, making the viewer think about how this is the heart of their land in America and should be treated with respect. Upon seeing the pictures though, they are pictures of landscapes being torn up or covered in ugly oil wells or waste deposits. This immediately draws a negative response from the viewer as the heart of the land in America they hold so dear is being brutalized and destroyed by oil companies. Narrowing down to Oil pipeline near White Earth, ND, the title has been replaced by a caption that is much more rhetorical. It is now Oil pipeline right of way. This title is much more suggestive of the exhibits meaning implying that the oil companies have the right to destroy the landscape like this. This elicits an emotional response of anger from the viewer that the oil companies can get away with this rampant destruction of their heartland with impunity. Some may argue that these photographs are like every other thing in an art museum, to please the viewer by showing them beautiful sculptures and images. However, this cant simply be the case because where many images in museums draw positive emotions because of the

Granberry 4 beauty or intricacy of the work, The Heartland does just the opposite. These photographs show the where beauty is being taken away. The gaping gash of a ditch in Oil pipeline near White Earth, ND is devoid of beauty and instead of positive emotions, draws out negative ones from the viewer. It is clear now that The Heartland is not a simple National Geographic-like collection of photos for the purpose of being aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Instead it functions as more meaningful collection of photos that were taken in specific ways in order to rhetorically influence the viewer. Rhetorical strategies such as contrast, composition, and framing were used in Oil pipeline near White Earth, ND and its exhibit. The importance of this rhetorical exhibit lies in the fact that persuasion does not simply take place in written and spoken arguments. Rhetoric can be used through the many types of mediums present today, one being photography. An argument is made just through the use of photographs and captions, which is in some cases, more impactful than any number of words. For instance, it is one thing to say the oil companies are harming our environment and they should be restricted, but it is much more effective to show the audience what the oil companies do to the environment and have the audience come to the same conclusion by itself.

Granberry 5 Works Cited Evans, Terry. Oil Pipeline near White Earth, ND. 2012-2013. Photograph. The Heartland, n.p. Herrick, James A. "An Overview of Rhetoric." The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001. N. pag. Print. Lancioni, Judith A. "The Rhetoric of the Frame." Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Documentary: A Case Study of The Civil War. Philadelphia, PA: S.n., 1994. N. pag. Print.