An image of an apple in a painting by Lucas Cranach may refer to ‘original sin’ (Figure 2.1.1c).
An image of an apple on a computer may refer to a specific computer brand (Figure 2.1.1d).
It is fair to say that we live in a visual age, in which we are surrounded by images and screens.
How does one begin to make sense of the bombardment of images? This page is an introduction to semiotics, the study of how meaning is constructed through signs.
When analysing an image, it is important to differentiate between the signifier (the image of the apple) and the signified (i.e. Imagine you were an alien and came to planet Earth and saw a swastika.
You would not know its meaning, because there is nothing inherent about the shape that resembles Nazism.Any time you analyse images and words in combination ask yourself how the text simplifies, amplifies, restates, or elaborates on the image. See Page 5.2.2 on how to analyse word and image) Figure 2.1.1a - HSBC advertisement The tagline of this advertisement reads: "The more you look at the world, the more you recognise that people value the same things, but in different ways." The HSBC advertisements from the early 2000s are clever in that the 'text' is an image, which changes meaning in the different contexts, provided by the overlay of words.This image of Dirty Harry, as played by Clint Eastwood, depicts tension as the audience expects the gun to go off.Stressed, sick, and exhausted, I wiped away a tear and gritted my teeth in defiance.As the saying goes, ‘a picture says a thousand words.’ In other words, images communicate succinctly.I had wanted so badly to bring my chubby, cooing baby with me, even though I knew that managing breastfeeding and a baby at a conference would not be easy. And I needed to feel like motherhood wasn’t derailing my career.But I worried about the cost, the lack of social support, and the prospect that senior colleagues wouldn’t take me seriously if they saw me with a baby. I tried to ignore the painful pinch coming from my emergency C-section incision which, now red and warm to the touch, was no doubt infected.In fact, it is a 'symbol', and the meanings of symbols are not inherently apparent. Symbols are signifiers that 'stands for' a person, place, thing or idea.The image of an apple in Figure 2.1.1c 'stands for' original sin.One can speak of an 'indexical relationship' between the signifier (the gun) and the signified (someone will die).In 1993, a focus group headed by Jon Steel, a partner at the San Francisco-based advertising firm Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, asked respondents not to consume milk for a week prior to participating in the study. ’ But soon, Milk PEP licensed Goody and Silverstein’s hugely popular slogan and the campaigns became, unofficially, two sides of the same coin.