My book review of 'The Visual Detox' by Marine Tanguy

by Marine Tanguy
The Visual Detox
by Marine Tanguy

I'm not quite sure how I came across this book but found it an intriguing read. There were some shocking facts about our media consumption and some astonishing statistics, but the authorial voice was puzzling. Marine Tanguy has apparently 'been at the forefront of visual storytelling for a long time. She has helped numerous young talents to achieve their potential.' Here she shares her experience with a wider audience.

'By the time you reach the end of this sentence, 1,250,000 new images will have been uploaded online...humans can process around 36,000 visual messages per hour, or 10 images per second, which we absorb and process regardless of whether we are consciously thinking of them...Online we see around 10,000 commercial visuals a day.'

No wonder so many of us are feeling overwhelmed and overloaded so much of the time. 'Our brains are regularly working in overdrive to process everything that we see.'

If you wake up to an alarm on your phone, you're likely to pick it up first thing in the morning and look at emails, news feeds, social media posts automatically. 'All those images influence how you feel and what you think about and what you do...we start the day stressed and anxious but don't realise that the images we see...are negatively impacting us.'

This book aims to give us the tools to focus on what is important and meaningful and to resist the visual manipulation going on all around us. The author wants us to make our visual landscape inspiring and empowering.

Visuals on social media can give us a dopamine hit like alcohol or nicotine, the author argues, and she urges us to do a visual audit. Developing our visual literacy skills as a society would reduce misinformation, improve communication, and assist us in creating spaces that support our collective wellbeing, she says. 

This is well worth a read with plenty of practical suggestions. It has certainly made me pause every time I go onto social media and recognise how I'm feeling and responding. A great book for urging us to take back control from the algorithms!

Date of this review: May 2024
Book publication date: 7th March 2024