Denotation and Connotation
- Denotation – visual signifier
- Connotation – Cultural signified
- Sender and receiver need to understand the photographic code
- Perspective – aspect ratio – built into camera
- Can vary perspective by changing point of view or lenses
- Focus = look at this
- Out of focus = background/losing consciousness
- Blur = movement
Reality and realism
- Reality is what we believe exists whereas realism is the mode of representation that supports that reality
- ‘In terms of photography, rhetoric defines the organisation of codes into an argument’
- Aristotle ‘The Art of Rhetoric’
- Aims to analyse and understand the image
- ‘Roland Barthes’ Rhetoric of the Image’ essay unpacks the rhetorical message of an advertising photograph to show or ‘deconstruct’ the ideological values attached to the meaning such images produce’
- The study of sign systems
- Originated in the linguistic theory of language systems
- In ‘Elements of Semiology’ Barthes tried out the idea of using food, furniture, or fashion as types of language. He attempted to identify the fundamental rules (langue) that enabled a practice (parole) ie the rules of playing chess
- Ferdinand de Saussure suggested that language is an organised system of signs that we operate in order to be able to represent ourselves in human culture
- Saussure: Words are Signs that gain meaning not from the object named but through the differences between them
- The basic structure of the English language is the alphabet. Letters are known as phonemes
- The cat sat on the mat OR The mat sat on the cat. One changed phoneme changes the meaning
- The letter C only has an identity by not being the letter M
- English: Dog. French: Chien. An example that the signs (words) in any language are arbitrary or ‘unmotivated’, and have no particular relation to the signified object except cultural convention
- Saussaure: Sign = Signifier + Signified
- The Signifier is the image or part of the image. The Signified is the mental image.
- The same visual signifier can have polysemic signified (different) linguistic meanings depending on the viewers and their viewpoints
Structuralism and post structuralism
- Roland Barthes involved 1960s
- Focuses on structures and system of rules that underpin and organise the practice in question
- Based primarily on linguistic semiotics
- Aims to discover the grammar of forms
- Post-structuralism adapted psychoanalysis and deconstruction. Brought the viewer into the frame of the analysis
- Had effect on a range of disciplines
- A figurative or metaphorical use of an image, word or expression.
- A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
- A still-life artwork which includes various symbolic objects designed to
remind the viewer of their mortality and of the worthlessness of worldly
goods and pleasures.
- Artworks that remind the viewer of the shortness and fragility of life
(memento mori – Latin phrase: ‘remember you must die’).