Subtext invites and encourages personal and blatantly subjective responses to photographs and analyzes the drivers behind them. During decades of participating in critiques as both student and teacher, André Ruesch has become convinced that it is the personal response to work that connects us in the most visceral and meaningful way. This book aims to encourage and educate viewers how to read and understand photographs on a deeper level, honoring and validating their responses to photographs. This book seeks to vitalize students in the photography classroom. Rather than a dense tome of theory, this is an accessible guide to taking individual ownership of—and enjoying—the visual experience.

To be visually literate is comparable to being linguistically literate. Such literacy is necessary to engender a deeper understanding and valuation of culture: both types of literacy create, enrich, define and historically document the expression of one individual to be shared by all.    

chapter 1|6 pages

The Velvet Hammer

The Potency of Elements

chapter 2|6 pages

The Personal Galaxy

The Symbol

chapter 3|6 pages

Just Fashion

A Question of Identity

chapter 4|4 pages

Nike and the Butterfly

The Reversed Stereotype

chapter 5|6 pages

Staying in Line


chapter 6|6 pages


The Metaphoric Landscape

chapter 7|6 pages

Henry's Tale

The Photographic Fable

chapter 8|5 pages

Moment by Moment

Elapsed Time—Eadweard Muybridge Revisited

chapter 9|7 pages

The Drowned Gun

Time as Poetry

chapter 10|4 pages

Split Again

The Reversed Connection

chapter 11|4 pages

The Other Half

Water and Air

chapter 12|8 pages

The Original

Please Touch the Art

chapter 13|6 pages

The Tyranny of Borders

The Fractured Elements

chapter 14|4 pages

The Holy Rosary


chapter 15|6 pages

A Conversation with God

The White Elephant in the Room

chapter 16|4 pages



chapter 17|4 pages

Lady Like

Body Language

chapter 18|8 pages


The Image Ecology Approach

chapter 19|6 pages



chapter 20|4 pages


Titled versus Untitled

chapter 21|6 pages

Speed and Stoicism

The Nature of the Elements

chapter 22|4 pages


The Literally and the Figuratively

chapter 23|6 pages

Sky View

Upside Down

chapter 24|4 pages

Blood is Blood


chapter 25|6 pages



chapter 26|6 pages


Rendering the Invisible

chapter 27|6 pages


Breaking Point

chapter 28|6 pages


The Need for Invisibility

chapter 29|4 pages

Big and Small

How We Give Thanks

chapter 30|6 pages

Ammo and a Happy Meal

Be Theatrical

chapter 31|8 pages

The Spider and the Net

Catch and Caught

chapter 32|4 pages

Dirty Jobs

A Deceptive Comedy of Errors

chapter 33|6 pages

What is to Come


chapter 34|8 pages

The Angel and the Wasp

The Order of the Elements

chapter 35|8 pages

In the End


chapter VIII|4 pages

If Lost or Lonely

Get Your Work Out There

chapter IX|2 pages


Florence + The Machine