MIT Visualizing Cultures

Selling Shiseido – Lesson 03

Cosmetics as History
By Karen Johnson & Patty Koller

Handout 03-C | Printer-friendly PDF file

Analyzing Images: The Five C’s

As you read images, use the Five C’s to structure your analysis.

1. Context: when was this made? What is the subject matter? What clues are given for a time frame? Consider clothing, implements, tools, weapons, architecture, etc.

2. Characters: who or what is portrayed here? Is it a person? Animal? Symbol? What clues are given about who/what they are?

3. Color: what colors, if any, are used? Do you think they were used just for visual appeal? What is the mood or tone established by these colors?

4. Composition: look at the use of space. Is one image bigger than another? Is that to suggest a relationship? What kind of relationship? Is the entire space used? Why or why not? What is in the foreground? The background? Does either suggest importance?

5. Construction: someone consciously constructed this image for a purpose. Who do you think made this? Why? For what audience? Who would connect with this image? Who would not?

Adapted from the Asia Rising & Yellow Promise/Yellow Peril curriculum, Lesson 01, developed by Kathleen Krauth.

© 2009 Program for Teaching East Asia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2010 Visualizing Cultures