This map of Jerusalem from a 1500 AD book shows a city of history and the troubles its been through. The map on its own would be uninformative without context and, while not in English, the simple basis of labeling the map “Jerusalem” brings so much more information and knowledge to the reader. The roads and exits are labeled, there’s a descriptive paragraph on the right and important landmarks and temples are scribed within the map. The combination of language and imagery brings the piece together into a complex and informative image. The one reading it doesn’t need to be a master cartographer or a scholarly author; it was meant to be read and understood by anyone willing to learn it. Not only do the map and language speak to one another, but the use of imagery, such as the three crosses atop a hill, the few descriptive houses likely larger in scale than the map, and the temple looking larger than the outside walls, all bring the image together in a user friendly fashion.
One of the strongest uses of line to convey emotion that I came across in the MASC was the cover page for “I Saw It: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima” A survivor’s true story by Kelji Nakazawa. The book itself is a horrifying recollection of the author’s experiences when the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The cover tells the story of panic, destruction, fear, confusion and heat through the sweat droplets on the policeman’s face, the dark outlines of his face and shirt and the lines coming out from behind him as if a fire or explosion were coming. It might not be too hard to convey one expression within a picture, but the complexity of all these emotions summed up between the man’s expression and the red lines behind him is baffling. Even attempting to imagine what these events may have been like gruesome and unholy.