The Meta-Image

Integrating my PhD research with 20+ years as a professional visual journalist, in September 2018 I began working on producing my mobile App, The Meta-Image through a generous grant from the Quintin Hogg Trust.

This mobile App is visually-embedding, multi-media and multi-layered.

The background for the App’s development, as Greenaway reminds us, is the consideration that “just because you have eyes does not mean to say that you can see.”  I agree that, in spite of its richness and complexity, visual communication still remains profoundly overlooked and trivialised as evolving digital cultures have further pushed said trend.

My aim is to offer a user friendly visual-first format to digital-first audiences while providing more general audiences with a tool to learn-by-doing.



A work-in-progress template for the Meta-Image.
© Massimiliano Fusari / Massimedia: Aesthetics As Storytelling.


As you can see the mobile App relies on actable layers on top of the photograph/video to expand and enhance current visual-centred communication.

The upper parts of the nested layers – the interactive Meta-Image (IMI) – are activated by audiences as they choose to engage more with the photograph and its communicative universe.

The lower parts of the nested layers – the passive Meta-Image (PMI) – trace how design, i.e. composition and aesthetics, thoroughly shape the semiotics of the image.



A gif with more details on the passive Meta-Image, and how aesthetics impresses communication.


The overall philosophy of the Meta-Image mobile App is the application of a basic and user-friendly interactive structure to advance the field of visual studies, and inform the public sphere with its digitally augmented communication.

• It facilitates a renewed appreciation of the storytelling capabilities of each and every image.

• It offers to audiences ‘informed communication’ rather than ‘clearly-cut forensics.’

• It advances professional and public awareness and social advocacy on the changed space, role and dynamics of today’s visual storytelling.

Through its interactive features, the Meta-Image expands and empowers the digital photograph by incorporating – for instance – debates on its finalised design, the ethics of its aesthetics and the explanation of particular storytelling techniques.

In so doing, it is hoped, the Meta-Image App will prompt mobile users to engage the complexities of today’s visual cultures, and learn from them as they use their smartphones camera.

In November 2017 I presented my research in an academic paper.  I am currently editing my monograph entitled Aesthetics as storytelling.  Please feel free to download the abstract.

If you are curious and would like to explore some more please visit my framework of the Image as Storytelling or the section on Research.

Or get in touch to find out how the App might help you via the link below.