Sunday, 20 February 2011

Semester 2 - Assignment 2, What Images Mean?

Semester Two – Assignment 2... What images mean?
In this assignment, we were asked in groups to find out if there is a link between the imagine that is being used in an advertisement and the thing that is being advertised.
Firstly, we were asked to read through the chapter the “Rhetoric of the image” by Roland Barthes. Barthes discusses the important concept about the relationship between images and text. He also subjects an advertisement to a semiotic analysis. In the essay Barthes suggests there are three types of message in advertisement: the text, the symbolic image and the non- symbolic image. Barthes comes to the conclusion that images have more than one meaning and once one meaning is discovered it ‘unlocks’ another – finding more out about the image.
 We will test this theory through an experiment. We chose four advertisement images/posters and then removed any logos or text off of them.

Image 1. Dettol Sanitiser

Image 2. WWE South American Deforestation

Image 3. Sharpie Permanent Marker Pen

Image 4. PSP

This assignment offers an opportunity to try an experiment to test the concept of polysemy. Firstly, we asked the people how the image made them feel, or what they made them think about (they should be describing the image, not guesses what they are advertising just yet. It is the way they interpret the images that it important). After noting down their answers, we finally asked them what they thought the poster was trying to advertise!
Person One: The first person I asked studies Politics at University and when first asked how the image made him feel or if it was telling a story, what would it be telling? He explained the first three images in a political state and in the last picture linked speed and drug taking together. When I explained that each image was an advertisement for an object or company he managed to guess all correct (what was being sold), apart from the last time (PSP advertisement).
Person Two: This person was along the correct lines, with every image (apart from image four again), when trying to explain the image being shown. After I told her the images were part of an advertisement, she got all correct again apart from image four.
Person 3: This person realised quickly that the images were linked to advertisement after seeing image 2. Getting the deforestation of South America correct first time and also new in image four that it was advertising something but when it came to saying what the advertisements were, he only got the deforestation and permanent marker pen correct.
From carrying out this experiment, I gained the knowledge that there is a big relationship between the understanding of an image and if text is present or not. I completely understand now that an image has so many different meanings and when telling a person a small bit more information on the image, it unlocks another meaning of it. All three people I questioned were able to guess a lot easier what the image/poster was trying to convey, after finding out it was an advertisement. This proving that text in advertisement is hugely important.

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