To me Images are even more impactful than writing an argument in words. They can appeal to more to emotions for a sensitive topic. They can also shine a light on something that may not make sense with a verbal argument. It is especially useful when dealing with sensitive topics or voiceless groups. Sometimes a bunch of numbers and statistics do not really make a argument but seeing first-hand what someone is experiencing can make someone take notice and do more to end that issue.
I am a photo minor and one thing that we discuss is using our photography to document things that is not typically talked about. I found one image online that has a child crying and you can see a hand made out of hurtful words chocking him. I thought it delivered a very powerful message on verbal abuse by making the words have a actual physical action. It brings the matter to life that although you may not see the bruises and scars that those still are a form of abuse. A image like this makes people stop and take notice. This is clearly in this case more effective than giving a bunch of statistics because it is an emotional issue.
Another topic that has been heavily discussed in the United States is the dangers of smoking. I took a health communications class last year that talked about the different ways to deliver messaging. For someone that is a addict, like a smoker, they need a more emotional connection to make them actually stop what they are doing. I found a image online that has a women smoking and the smoke creates a noose around her neck. Although this is very dramatic, it makes people stop and take attention to it. They also have one where she is holding a cigarette and it looks like she is cutting herself with a knife. Once again, this is very dramatic but this creates an effective emotional response from someone. The message in both of these are very clear that smoking kills.
However, visuals do not always have to be images. I found one visual argument on smoking that used 3-D design. They made 3D clear lungs that could be filled up. Inside of it there were cigarettes filling up the space of the lungs. It really demonstrated that every cigarette counts where it comes to your lungs. 3D design can be great to get a audience to interact more with your argument. It also gives a more visual hands on demonstration of what you are arguing for.
There are also times when documenting real events can create a visual argument. One example I have always seen in my photography classes is a picture of a lady and her children during the depression. Many people argue that this picture out of any documentations or statistics captures the depression the best. It shows emotion, the tragic state people had to live in and the amount of poverty that was faced during this time.