Wenk and Krebs believe that research into visual culture seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What is made visible?
  • Where is it made visible?
  • How is it 'given to be seen'?

These questions are a basis for visual studies. They probe deeply into sociality because we are primarily visual animals with acute powers of visual perception. This human trait is associated with a capacity to create subdivisions of society based on the selection and classification of images. We read what we see to reinforce cohesion of such sub-cultures.

In Britain today one of the biggest visual subcultures has coalesced around images of natural beauty. Its images form the basis of marketing places for members of the subgroup to visit. Images also create a sense of place for those who live in areas single out as representing the best national examples of natural beauty. Such places are protected from change by strict planning laws which are the basis of the British system of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Planning restrictions often spark conflict among residents when conservation of natural beauty is incompatible with local economic development, and policies are directed towards maintaining the economic sustainability of residents.

This wikispace is an educational resource to introduce the subject of visual studies. The subject is conceptualised by comparing and contrasting three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the Gower AONB with the Isle of Wight AONB and the North Norfolk Coast AONB in terms of how their visuality and textuality are reflected in their definition and management. The questions that Wenk and Krebs use to define visual culture are used as an investigative framework.

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