richpicturesRich Pictures focuses on the value of developing visual narratives – Rich Pictures – as an important component and starting point for community participation. A key device for the community to share ideas and perspectives on current and potential future situations, Rich Pictures (RP) provide a shared space for members to set out ideas and negotiate.








RICH PICTURES

Encouraging Resilient Communities

 

 

 

By Simon Bell, Tessa Berg and Stephen Morse

 

earthscan

 

2016 | 258 Pages | ISBN  9781138898738

 

Reviewed By

Jeff Thurston

 

 

Rich Pictures focuses on the value of developing visual narratives – Rich Pictures – as an important component and starting point for community participation. A key device for the community to share ideas and perspectives on current and potential future situations, Rich Pictures (RP) provide a shared space for members to set out ideas and negotiate.

There can be little doubt that 2D, 3D and 4D innovations are situated directly within modeling, animation, mapping, augmented reality and to a large extent in graphics and illustration. Accordingly, they underpin visual presentation and the use of visual elements when considering a wide range of materials across many industries. To develop and create Rich Pictures is to enable the telling of a story and helping others to understand it. Whether it is a building design, a road network, utility corridor or a proposed new community within a 3D city model, visual narratives have a valuable role to play.  There are many more applications and uses for visualization. 

This book is timely with its message, because we are increasingly moving into a visual world where graphics and presentation are moving beyond geographic factors alone to include the location-based experiences that connect with real-world applications tightly associated with design, operations, planning and management - particularly where infrastructure is involved. 

The authors begin by explaining what a Rich Picture is. They say that Rich Pictures aim to tell truth through telling a story. More exactly, eductive interpretation is the term given to this process - drawing forth and understanding. The essence of a Rich Picture is the telling of a story, and they include early examples in the book. Many will be familiar with RP because they have scene examples online or in books, or even connected with an illustrator to creator one for their own business or project. 

Through taking a group of people and sitting them together to explain their story, they contribute thoughts, observations and invariably contribute to a diverse drawing that finally presents a combined story that they could not convey alone. In a sense a RP is a large chart of interconnections, but it is presented with images and other artist flare to convey a more personal identity. This book explains the process of visual thinking and even includes a picture of cave drawings - the earlier form of telling a story visually. 

At a time when many of us are faced with complex data links, volumes of data and rising amounts of data, the need to explain what it all means is daunting. RP enable the possibility to connect, combine and convey the underlying stories in these raw pieces of information in formal and informal ways that capture their truth, and ultimately, their intended reason for existing. Most people cannot quite understand raw data output, but RP bridge this fact, and contribute insight, understanding and realisation where not previously possible. 

Readers will find this book quite informative because it contains, in words and visualisation, what many of us scratch our heads about and wondered how to overcome barriers in communication. We find stories as RP in examples inside the book about the London Olympics, health care, metaphors and even diagrams of water issues. The book crosses many paths in real world examples, essentially pointing to the fact that all things can be conveyed in a RP and that stories can be told in many ways. 

The authors say there is "the tendency to art" element in many visualsations today - not necessarily a positive factor. Those working along this stream of thought like to artfully create, to artfully exhibit and all things artful. However, a key factor underpinning RP is that anyone can draw, and combination of ordinary (or lack of artfulness) is what makes RP so compelling. They look designed and created by anyone, and the interpeted elements presented are directly linked to the creators perspective - not to a standardised way of thinking.

Filled with Rich Pictures, the book includes many examples from different people and groups. Indeed, the act of grouping together to create these visual stories is also presented in the book. This form of communication brings together audiences and members, along with their unique interpretations, biases, ideas, outlooks and basic view of the world or a situation. Larger groups result in more widely varied stories, richer in text, tone, context and visual presentation. Imperfections are suddenly seen in these stories, and untold stories reach for release. 

The authors also explain how to facilitate and get the process to work. This section will help readers to begin their own process and to develop their own Rich Pictures. They also explain some of the lessons they have learned over time and how to facilitate the process and some of the bottlenecks. 

All in all, this is a very enjoyable and informative book to read. It is filled with information that anyone can put into action, and it draws upon experience and observations from many Rich Pictures developed over time. Readers will learn what RP is, how to do it, what is involved and what works and doesn't. They will see actual samples and by the end of the text, they should feel less anxiety about beginning, and simply jump in and get going. 

The graphics in this book are quite interesting and they really support the text well. I found myself going back and re-reading sections in this book, since so much of the later material draws upon the first parts. Once one picks up this book it is really hard to put down - this is a great book - for telling stories, for students, business people or even as a gift. You will like it....