Relaying sensory experiences is not often something that is associated with expository writing. We often think about sensory experience in relation to emotion, not often in relation to a place. And when we do think of sense in relation to real physical feelings or places, there is often a distrustful attitude.
The sensory experience can be easily tricked; what we think is hot intestines is really just a bowl of warm noodles and jam.
I’ve been running into the issue of establishing ethos when describing physical object shapes and colors, especially because of the variation that occurs from person to person with objects like this. It’s impossible to feel like your audience won’t doubt you in this case, especially since the audience may never get to see the object itself. Because of this, I’m grateful for the ability to include color photography in both essays and blog posts. I think including these types of sources when writing allows authors in the modern day to not only establish credibility for their own writing, but also to allow readers to draw their own conclusions about the properties of an object.
Now I’m not saying that pictures will ever replace the need for people to see things for themselves, but I think that digital photography and other media tools (videos, sound bites) allow for audiences to create a more complete image of an object without the interpretation of an author.
Anyway, I realize that most of this post has been me ranting on about what are probably my own insecurities in expository writing so here’s an awesome video about the way that evolving media allows us to explore and redefine the world around us.
This Ted Talk is about an archaeologist who uses satellite imaging to find and excavate an ancient Egyptian city.