Something we all can relate to, the dreadful day of peer review. Even though overlooked too often, writing is a social process. With my words, I am somewhat vulnerable when others read my writing. I always feel like someone is judging me. The thoughts in my head as I transform them into words make complete sense to me. However, sometimes when I translate the words into paragraphs, others do not understand at times exactly what I was trying to say. When someone else is looking over my paper, I sometimes try to look over to see if they make any interesting facial expressions.
Peer review has changed dramatically in the past couple of years. I remember doing peer review in class. I would pass two copies of my paper to the right, and I would go through with a pen and make my comments. It was very boring, but in the end, it was helpful when you received your essay back. As scary as it was, people were usually nice. I do not know if it was because they felt rude being mean or because my essay was just that good (I guess I’ll never know) .
If Kevin Kelly’s article Becoming Screen Literate, he discussed that almost everything we do is on a screen. I know that for me, I do not even write to my grocery list anymore, I use the notes section of my phone to write it there. Whenever I write it on a piece of paper, I forget it at home. However, I know that I will not leave my phone behind.
What does this have to do with peer review you may ask? The answer is, everything! Peer review is not done via pen and paper any longer. I have noticed that during class, most people did not have the chance to print out there assignments. Therefore, they pass their computer around the entire room. Then, peers marking their papers simply fix the words they spelt wrong, or whatever they feel needs to be changed and place it in red. Then, once the original writer sees this, they have the option of keeping their peers’ suggestion or not.
Peer review can also be done in class over the big screen. Everyone looks at the same thing and a discussion is opened up. This is not great for the shy, because their work is being seen by the whole class at the same time. In the class Writing, Research, & Technology, we were required to write a photo essay. For those of you who do not know, this is an essay simply by using photos to make your point. In order to prepare for this assignment, we read articles such as Berger’sUnderstanding a Photograph. In this article, he explains the elements of what a photograph are.
Besides simply learning about what a photograph is, we were taught about the components of photography. This includes the elements of composition. InRowse’s 5 Elements of Composition in Photography, she explains the elements of pattern, symmetry, texture, depth, and lines. These elements were learned by having our class experience this hands on. We ventured into the cold to take pictures outside while keeping these elements of composition in mind.
Afterwards, our photos were then placed on the big screen. As Critiques took place, something came over me. I realized that having my pictures on the screen was more vulnerable than the feeling of having my words on the screen. I guess this is part of the idea that you become a part of the picture. What is in the picture is what you may be trying to hide, yourself. When we take a picture, there is always a reason, even if you do not think so.
Photography and Writing are alike in so many ways that I have never realized before. To give of one’s words is to give of themselves, but to give of one’s photography is to give full measure. The saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words, which I agree with. However, the photographs do not just involve words, but also revoke feeling. Words can evoke feeling as well but I believe that the argument is stronger when made with photos.
Sometimes words cannot be spoken. Sometimes photos are the only time that you can get your meaning across. Photography is something that I was somewhat interested in. After leaning about all these new elements, it makes taking and looking at photos so much more interesting. Photography and writing are very directly correlated. Instead of being afraid of the changes in the peer review and feelings and changes that come along with them, we should embrace them.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”.
-John F. Kennedy