From the office to domestic interiors to shops, images surround us in modern life. The internet has increased this visual onslaught exponentially. Is there a systematic order to this seemingly endless array of pictures and depictions? Looking at picture-making traditions around the world, the author demonstrates how schemes of depiction are ordered throughout all ages and across all cultures. Drawing on a wide range of examples--from painting and drawing to film, photography and the web--Visual Impact analyzes the theory and practice of visual representation. Pictures and images provide a cognitive context through which people can explore and understand their world. They frame and shape daily life. By considering the techniques and systems that inform visual displays, the author examines how cultural values and traditions shape particular visual styles. Drawing on the growing field of visual anthropology, Visual Impact sets image making in an historical and global context, and uses it as a window for exploring the human condition at a deeper level. Anyone interested in the cultural role of art, film and the internet will find this book an exciting and stimulating read.