The National Geographic Magazine is one of the American media products recognizable and read by millions of people all over the world. The Magazine considers itself as an educational, quasi – scholarly publication for the ‘increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge’. With this authority and more than one century tradition, National Geographic disseminates knowledge about different topics, including people and their cultures. What makes the Magazine especially popular and influential is the abundance of beautiful and colorful pictures. The visual representation of the ‘Others’ constitute a significant part of magazine’s content and add to the popular discourse about the issue.
In this master thesis I am concerned how visual representation of Latin Americans in National Geographic is constructed. The constructivist theory is a background for my research. To analyze the photographs I employed semiological approach as outlined by Roland Barthes. The study incorporates also feminist and post – colonial theories, particularly the arguments concerning the representation of the ‘Other’.
The analysis of visual representation of Latin Americans in National Geographic resulted in finding few myths which the Magazine disseminates about the group in focus. The Latin ‘Other’ is represented as a member of a Third World, trapped in the primitive state of nature and living in literal or metaphorical jungle. Further, Latin American ‘Other’ is represented in the context of contemporary socialist movements in the region and relationships with the United States. It results in mythologizing the Latin revolution and its leaders.
The general conclusion of the research is that photographs in National Geographic presents only particular part of the Latin societies and creates reduced image of the Latin ‘Other’. Visual representation of Latin Americans in the Magazine is not balanced, but focused on a narrow field of issues, often controversial and presented in a stereotypical way. It results in construction and dissemination of myths that are often far from reality.