Multimedia as a Tool of Immersion

For this assignment, I analyzed the article “From Sea to Sand” by Peter Gwin and photographed by Anastasia Taylor-Lind, published in National Geographic.

This article was extremely successful in using the multimedia elements of text, photo packages, and video in immersing the reader into the story. The first person narrative the author uses as well as his own personal antidotes peaks the viewers curiosity and places his own fascination into the imagination of the audience. The historical context in the article also clarifies the importance of Arabian horses on a global scale, and shows what sacred meaning they have to middle-eastern culture.

The photo packages in the story are simply exquisite. The technical elements of the photographs are extremely strong from quality of light to contrast, and beyond their visual excellence the subject matter adds details to the story. The verbal descriptions of the horses as well as their riders are elevated by visual accompaniment the pictures provide. Personalities of dedicated stable owners are given a face, and the viewer can see firsthand the engorged muscles that allow magical Arabian horses to fly over the desert sands like magic carpets.

Finally, the short videos in the piece puts the reader in the saddle, right there with the journalists and the photographers. The horses kicking the dust in the wind and the scenic views of the small villages add yet another level to the placement of the audience in the middle of the experience. However, I would say that this element is the least successful out of all the multimedia facets. I would have changed it by adding sound to the videos, some slight ambient noise or recordings of the riders talking and chewing tobacco would have added another level to the story. All things considered, it is still a successful element, but could have been heightened with audio.

Overall, this was a very strong piece. I am personally very intrigued with this part of the world and would love to travel there myself one day, but reading this made me feel as though, just for a moment, I was sipping coffee overlooking an Arabian valley rather than at my kitchen counter on a rainy day in Columbia, Missouri.

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