Conflicting Messages: The Visual Rhetoric of Slow Food

This research provides a rhetorical analysis of the visual communication of the Slow Food International website to consider how Slow Food communicates messages to its audience via photographs on its website. Using a visual communication perspective combined with Perelman’s notion of “rhetorical presence” as a theoretical framework, I argue that Slow Food’s visual communication (photographs and website content) conflict with their creed stating that good food should be available to people of all incomes and backgrounds. I explore how the visual messages of two representative photographs evoke compelling imagery of travel, gourmet food, cooking, and fine dining. However, I contend that these images fail to overcome rhetorical barriers of time, money, and skill that would be needed to get more lower- and middle-class people and home cooks to implement Slow Food objectives. Thus, the Slow Food photographs alienate those with less income, leisure time, or cooking skill and reinforce the view of Slow Food as an elitist social movement.

Slow Food, visual rhetoric, communication, marketing