w03 Roland Barthes

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w03 Roland Barthes

Post by glegrady » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:07 pm

Read the material and articles at this week's links in the syllabus. Follow by selecting an image from the corporate world, something like an ad, a news picture, a scientific illustration, etc, and then select an image that is of a casual nature: snapshot, family, etc. Discuss both separately using Roland Barthes' system of the three messages.
George Legrady

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by ellencampbell » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:17 pm

Advertisement Analysis
The non-coded messages throughout this advertisement support its symbolic messages. Daisy denotes an image with dull colors of a young woman in nature holding an enlarged perfume bottle. First, color is a major sign that helps the viewer transform its denotations into the advertisement’s overall meanings. The model wears a simple, white, crocheted bikini. No other colors stand out. The color white symbolizes purity and life. Therefore, the image connotes innocence, cleanliness, and vivacity. No stress is placed on the model’s breasts, hips, or lips. Therefore, the sexuality often present in perfume ads is not coded for in this image. Daisy breaks away from sexual connotations and signs by depicting female liberty. Daisy emphasizes natural beauty, as the model is relaxed and wears no make-up, is pale, and is shown with messy/loose hair.

The coded iconic messages capture the overall essence of Daisy’s unique advertisement. The connotations evoke a sense of freedom that successfully targets young female consumers. Although the signifier is a woman and a perfume bottle, the details employed by the creative team and photographers, bring forth the message that the company attempts to convey (or that which is signified). As mentioned above, the Daisy advertisement features a female model alone in nature; this signifies her independence and liberation. Nature adds to the element of purity conveyed by the image while also eliciting spontaneity. She seems unconcerned by her whereabouts as she lies in a meadow (presumably), thus creating a carefree and youthful feel that reflects the perfumes’ overall significance.

There appears to be an enigma code in this image. That is, there is a sense of mystery involved because the viewer cannot point out exactly where each woman is; it is purposely vague. The contents are contained into a selective frame, forcing one to imagine her position on a larger scale; the viewer must assume that the scene takes place in a meadow of some sort.

Daisy perfume is shown in an oversized bottle (another sign). This representation is playful and nonsensical, similar to the mood Daisy portrays in its advertisement. The bottle cap is topped with three plastic daisies. The design is energetic and fun, as opposed to more serious and sleek designs seen in many other bottles.

Finally, linguistic elements play a major role in the visual rhetoric of this advertisement. For instance, it is lively, yet contains a certain elegance that comes with the March Jacobs designer label. All of Marc Jacobs’ ads contain a consistent font choice and layout of text. Because typography is immediately recognized as belonging to the Marc Jacobs label, it can also appeal to a more mature audience as it connotes sophistication and luxury. The clean and simple text is a relay that reinforces the pure quality of the image; the text complements the image. As for the linguistic anchorage, the text directs the viewer to some signified messages, such as simplicity, purity, and sophistication, while ignoring other (like youthfulness and liberation). Lastly, the relationship between image and text in the ad shows the advantage of simplistic and clear contextual arrangement. The perfume name and brand label are placed outside of the frame of the image. They are immediately evident to the viewer because the text is centered within a large white space below the image.

Snapshot Analysis
At first glance, this picture by a pool appears basic and literal. Two girls are captured about to “cheers” before drinking, while another (me) plays on a flotation toy. The denotate photograph contained coded messages through its literalness. That is, although the image is natural in that it is a representation of a spontaneous moment, the non-coded iconic message supports some symbolic messages. Only photographs hold the power to transmit literal information without intentionally forming it with signs.

There are many connotations that the elements of this snapshot evoke. First, the colors are bright and bold, therefore eliciting a sense of happiness and joy. The pool toys signify a youthful, fun, and playful quality. The carefree feel of the image is further enhanced by its context; the sunny pool setting connotates the feeling of a lazy summer day. Next, the image is dynamic in terms of its movement. There is a tension between the girls about to “cheers” with their drinks that creates a diagonal line from arm to arm. Shape and line add motion and interest to the composition; the viewer’s eye follows the diagonal line of the girls’ arms across the picture plane, and then continues on to the circular shape of me looking like a hamster in a wheel. Overall, the picture contains a triangular arrangement.

The text in the image, although not strategically placed, reinforces the image, making it somewhat redundant. The word “crazy” on one pool toy supports the playful vibe of the image; it anchors interpretation as opposed to simple identification. That is, the linguistic message corresponds to the literal, or denoted, meaning. In addition, the text “Sport” is visible on the blue pool toy. This text connotates activity, outdoors, and energy as seem in the image.

Overall, practical and aesthetic knowledge are invested into this image and corresponds to the reading of it. However, Roland Barthes points out that the same lexia can mobilize different lexicons, so each sign corresponds to a variety of “attitudes”. Although I may read the image’s essence as playful and happy, meaning is made up of personal, cultural, and national knowledge and attitudes.

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by juliakristine91 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:40 pm

Week 3- Barthes- Julia
funny commercials (24).jpg
In Roland Barthes article “Rhetoric of the Image” he describes the three messages that every photograph or advertisement consists of. I have found an advertisement online by the company Sony for one of their new models of their computer Vaio. In the advertisement the business-looking man is walking away from a plane, which is about to take off, and his new Vaio computer is flying away along with his other loose papers. The caption states, “Lightweight like no other,” referring to their lightweight computer.
The first message that Barthes talks about is the linguistic message. This is would be the caption that is under the plain stating, “Lightweight like no other.” This linguistic message is here in order to help the viewer answer the question of “What is this?” This caption gives the viewer a reason to why the computer is flying in the air with the other lightweight papers. Since it is able to fly away in the wind with papers it is unlike any other computer that you could buy on the market. This very much exaggerated in the photo itself, but it does help to concur with the statement that the company is making about the computer. This text is anchoring the advertisement giving “projective power” to the figures, as Barthes states.
The non coded iconic message in this photograph is the man who looks as though he is a business man, is walking away from a plane and turns around to find out that his papers along with his new Vaio computer is flying away in the wind of the airplane about to take off. The coded iconic message is the first off that the person who would have this computer is someone like this man. He is dressed nicely and sophisticated, and also seems to be very well off since he has just gotten off a private jet. This implies that someone who owns one of these computers will be and look sophisticated and upper-class. Also in the coded message, the computer is flying in the wind with the other loose papers in order to make it seem as though this computer is as light as a paper. By someone having this lightweight of a computer, they could go anywhere with it. Also, by the look on the figures face, no one would want to lose this computer because of how unlike it is compared to other computers.
personal photo
For my personal photo, I choose a photo that I took of a photo taken at Disneyland on the Hollywood Tower of Terror. This photo includes some of my family (cousins & brother) and me. The non coded iconic message of this photo is that there are 21 people whom all have different facial expressions due to the fact that they are pretty much free falling down multiple stories of a building.
Another message that this photograph can convey is the coded iconic message. All of these people have many different expressions all conveying many different emotions. For example, I am quite frightened and am also holding onto my ears for fear of losing them. The dull colors of this photograph can add to the “terror” aspect of this photo. Since the object of this ride is to scary its’ riders, the dullness implies that they are falling to their “deaths”. Any bright colors would not make the same effect. This photograph can bring up the feeling of excitement to some viewers because the viewer is looking at a specific moment in time when all of these people at one time are falling to another “twilight zone”. Plus all the different expressions can add humor to this “frightening” moment.
The only linguistic messages in this photo are the “maximum load: 3 tons”, which is added to the elevator for a more realistic effect by Disneyland. And the other words are the cutoff phrase of “The Hollywood Tower of Terror”. This only gives the viewer information about the ride that these people are on.

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by mmihalche » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:04 pm

North Face
Barthes talks about the codification of images, especially advertisement that has an intended message of being read unlike a normal snapshot. He classifies the image according to various categories of reading showing us that an add has many ways of getting it's meaning across to the viewer, even in ways we were unconscious about.

I chose a North Face advertisement , from the first glance we realize that it advertises something related to the outdoors, to nature, since the biggest image is that of a mountain. The colors are mostly focused on whites, grays, blues, not very strong colors, winter landscape colors, these colors act as the signifiers while the signified is the cold.The colors also suggest a peaceful atmosphere, a quiet place, we know that from cultural experience and personal experience in the mountains. Looking at the image what do we see? If we start looking according to Barthes analysis then we look at the linguistic message " never stop exploring"; the text is divided between two different background photos, the "never stop " part is above a person walking , the person is with the back to us going forward and not stopping while the "exploring" part is above the mountain view where the person is seen at the top of a peak floating above clouds. The words send us into nature and give us a clue that the advertisement is about something related to the outdoors, most likely gear since we see the well equipped person on the mountain who makes it to the summit. Next to the "never stop exploring" in red we have the logo of the North Face company which stands out because of color and placement towards the middle of the connecting space in the pictures. The add points to one more thing with language since it says the "summit series" which drives us closer to the fact that the advertisement is for outdoor gear and not for travel, even though in an indirect way travel is intended after all.

Looking at the image itself and not at the text, what do we see. We can look at the ad by dividing it into the two images first. On the left we have a person with the back to us, carrying a big backpack , skis and poles and going forward into the white snow background . The equipment is the signifier , while the signified is a mountain adventure, maybe also a descent on skis . The person is with the back to us so it is still going forward . In the second image we see a mountain range and clouds, which suggests that the person on the summit is at a very high altitude in very cold weather. In this image the person is facing us , it has reached the top and might be ready to do the descend on skis.The second image is more about the landscape telling us that we can go anywhere , we can reach any goal if we are well prepared with the right outdoor gear that North Face can offer us. The advertisement accomplishes to present to us a situation in which we might be or that we might want to explore, but first we have to have all the equipment needed.

The personal picture was taken last summer in Cefalu, Sicilia, Italia. The picture unlike the advertisement does not have an intended codified meaning, it was taken as a "having-been there" as Barthes describes images , it was taken as a memory of that moment.

Looking at the image we have some visual code to follow, we can divide the image into two parts like we did with the advertisement. On the left there is a person, we can see it is summer since the person is tanned and wearing something that seems like a swim suit under a dress since we can see the top part . We can see that the person is sitting on some type of wall or fence, the edge of something and that there is a wall behind. The position suggests that she is somewhere high up overlooking a city. The person is looking at the camera knowing she is photographed, there are no surprises so in a way the image is constructed. On the left side of the dividing line (the wall), the image is divided horizontally into two parts, the top is all blue , the sea merges into the sky, while the bottom half shows a city, we can see many pale red roofs. These visual clues suggests that we are overlooking a city by the sea, and based on the architectural clusters we should be somewhere in Europe, we know this based on cultural signs, position of buildings, colors, the wall that the person is sitting on , which seems to be above the city which as a cultural sign might signify that this might be a medieval defense wall. Putting the two sides of the image together , the person is overlooking the city, she is at a vista point and looks happy and enjoying the place.We do not know why the image was taken there, what it signifies for the person in the image, whether that person was alone or not, or where exactly the picture was taken, we can imply that it might be on a vacation and that like in the advertisement everything is sort of an adventure even though it is different.
Personal picture

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes- Catherine Li

Post by catiee55 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:53 pm


The advertisement that I chose is a fashion ad from Dolce & Gabbana. Just looking at the ad you see five attractive males and one beautiful female at the pool. From the shiny skin and choice of barley any clothing you can get the sense that it is a hot day. The men wearing fashionable mens clothing's and the woman wearing a black one piece with heels all are under the same color spectrum. The people alongside the location all share the same shades of black, blue, and gray. The female seems to be forced to lay down. Her body is at an angle and she looks away from the men that are gazing at her. The men are all positioned towards the woman and are all gazing at her. Using the term Barthes teaches us, the linguistic message is the white visable, blended words, "Dolce & Gabbana." This represents the band of the company. If one has see previous ads of theirs they would know what kind of representations its holds. Dolce & Gabbana represents and exclusive, high-end brand only for those that are wealthy.

When looking at this ad, there are man symbolic attributes. For example, the controlling man vs the submissive woman. The man pinning her down shows dominance. Also having all the other men looking at her shows her as an object. The woman, because of her beauty and how she lets the man dominate her shows a sign of sexiness. It is known that women like dominate men and the ad shows that if you wear their product you will attract just that. You will attract dominate, attractive men. The woman grabs a mans attention by her fashion choices and looks. When a viewer looks at ads like these they try to achieve just that. In order to be sexy and to be wanted you must be her in every way. This means that you should purchase the apparel.

The location of the ad is also key. The location of the pool does not look like any old regular pool area. This pool area looks like more of an high end place. This gives the viewer the idea of wealth. This pool looks like something only a rich person would own.

The personal picture I chose was from a trip i took to Rome, Italy.

In the photo you see two gentleman dressed in costume of roman attire. The two people in the center are interacting with the two characters. The location has a ruined building behind with other people behind. you can tell that this is a tourist area. As the photo is, there are 4 people posing for a photo interacting with each other to set up a scene. One girl with a sword and the other girl stepping on the mans leg. The colors are vibrate and show a nice day. From the photo you get the sense of fun and a good time. This is suppose to want the viewer to go and travel. That traveling is nothing but fun and a good time.

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by kyle_gordon » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:53 pm

The Coca Cola ad at first glance conveys several messages to the viewer. The girl in the bikini acts as a figure of sex appeal, wearing only a bikini and portrayed as the "ideal" woman. The fact that she is smiling makes the viewer see the product as something that will make them happy, or something that causes joy. Her pose and closeness to the giant coke bottle is suggestive that if you buy this product, hot girls will be more inclined to be near you, etc. The coke bottle itself is oversized, portraying masculinity, as though it were an attractive and strong male. The color red acts as a visual stimulant and stands out from the rest of the design's colors, since red is a strong color. With regards to the text, it displays the product name, however underneath it says "summer as it should be" linking to themes of summer as a time for fun, sex, happiness, and freedom.

With regards to the linguistic message, we immediately can tell from the text that the product is meant to be enjoyed and is "fun". The phrase "summer as it should be" continues this message and tries to express the the viewer that summer is the best time to enjoy Coca Cola and since summer is not forever, now is the time to have a coke. The repetition of the words "coca-cola" on the bottle and the top left, serve to engrain the product name in the viewer's head.

As stated earlier, the messages of the image consist of happiness, sex appeal, and masculinity. Each of these are expressed based on the size of the coke bottle, the suggestive posture and pose of the girl, and the expression on her face displaying sheer joy for her coca-cola. The denotation/rhetoric of the image are described by these features through the ad, and through the examination of the deeper meaning/ personal knowledge of the viewer through their examination of the ad itself.

The next image displays a scene from a party in the freshman dorms. With regards to the linguistical examination of the image, there are no blatant forms of text that seem to stand out or promote anything the image signifies. As we examine the image closer, we look into the denotated messages of the image as well at the rhetorical. The body language of each individual in the image seem to express, as similar to the messages of the first ad, sexual appeal, happiness, excitement, and a sense of the unknown. Each figure in the image seems to be unsure of their surroundings, giving the image an overall exciting feeling and mystery.

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by rjliang » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:14 pm

This FedEx advertisement displays one pair of hands (top) letting go of an object that the second pair of hands (bottom) is reaching for through a clearly labeled FedEx Express cardboard box. In his article, "Rhetoric of the Image," Barthes highlights three messages that are found in every photograph or advertisement. The first is the linguistic message, which Barthes describes as identifying the elements of the scene by being a denoted description of the image. In this advertisement, the linguistic message is not only the text in the center of the photograph ("FedEx Express"), but also the text located in the bottom left corner (the company's contact information). The text--"Fedex Express"--anchors the advertisement through indicating the name and special type of service the company provides its customers. Because of the minimal text information present in the advertisement itself, the bottom left text encourages viewers to further research the advertisement's Express service. The second message Barthes describes is the denoted message, which is the literal and primary meaning of a message in an image. In this advertisement, the denoted message consists of a gift (vase) being literally passed on to another person with ease through a FedEx Express box. The third, connoted, message simultaneously plays a part in the denoted message because, as Barthes notes, the "spectator of the image receives at the same time the perceptual message and the cultural message" (26). The coded iconic message implies that FedEx Express is such a quick delivery service that the delivery and receiving of a package feels concurrent (extremely speedy). Moreover, the neutral colors of the image and background help showcase, rather than distract from, the vivid and complementary purple and orange colors of the FedEx logo.
The second image is a photograph of myself surrounded by junk and construction material. Although no legible, linguistic message is present, both denoted and connoted messages give meaning to the photograph. At first glance, when only looking at my happy facial expression, it appears as if I might be standing in a setting worth taking a picture of. However, upon closer inspection, it is clear that the elements surrounding me are not very beautiful. Although the denoted message of the image is that I am standing amidst junk, the iconic message indicates that I am happy and joyful no matter where I am, or that I am being sarcastic and only pretending that I am happy in such a context. Overall, this image shows how denoted and connoted messages can differ in subtle ways.

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by wangqian321 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:28 pm

In Roland Barth’s article, the author introduces three key messages when we view images. He states that the rhetoric in any image takes the form of linguistic message, coded iconic message and non-coded iconic message. Each message is dependent and influential on each other, however the decoding of each message is completely depend on the viewer’s knowledge that might lead to a totally different interpretation by their own. I found an image of an advertisement by Motorola Ming8 phone with GPS. In this image, the scene is set in China, on a wild mountain there are five monks showing the way--- each of them is showing the different way. The first notable message from this ad comes from the linguistic message. The text “ Ming8. Now with GPS. Thankfully.” is pretty simple and straightforward, and it tells viewers what’s going on here with showing the new feature GPS in Motorola Ming8. The text suggests that the new generation of Ming8 can help people get rid of the situation of asking way, which always makes us confused as we have to make a decision based on the choices differing a lot from each other. The text “thankfully” shows a strong feeling of relief from the confusing and embarrassing situation, meanwhile it implies that the new Ming8 with GPS can help you live and travel conveniently and happily, even though you were in a totally unfamiliar place, such as China. The non-coded iconic message in this advertisement is also fairly simple. There are five monks showing way however each one of them is showing the different way. Judging from their skin color and clothes, it is not difficult to find that the scene is set in China. It is interesting that when looking at this image of advertisement, the viewer become part of it. It seems like the person who asks for help is standing right in front of the image, even though he\she is not appearing in the image. In other words, the viewer becomes the person who asks way. And the boundless mountains and gloomy sky also play up the wild atmosphere, which can express the feelings of helpless and confused of the person who asks for help. Meanwhile, the facial expression of every monk is serious and it seems like every one of them is convincing. All these add to a complicated and confusing situation, which viewers could experience if they pretend themselves to be the person who are in trouble and need a direction. The coded iconic message means that the cultural meaning transmitted through a sign. It depends on viewer’s personal background. The connoted messages derived from the demoted images can vary. In this advertisement, it shows that to a great extent, GPS changes our life a lot. With the help of this sort of high technology, we can find the correct way without asking people. Moreover, “monk” could represents Chinese religion culture, in other words, it represents traditional or even old-fashioned things. In the “battle” between modern technology and tradition, GPS wins over the monks who are well known for wisdom and reliability.
The personal image I chose is a picture taken last summer when I graduated from college in China. And this picture was taken outside the auditorium where the graduation ceremony was held. The image shows that there are seven students wearing academic dress. And the six girls are in a scramble to shake hands with the boy. In fact, we are cos-playing the picture hung on the wall. In that picture on the wall, the former chairman of China, Jiang Zemin, is shaking hands with the public. Every one who got the chance to shake hands with Jiang is smiling just like they are receiving an award. There is no text information in the image, however the non-coded iconic message is simple and obvious. Also, the coded iconic message is that as students are imitating the leader of their country for fun, it becomes a sort of banter against the common idea in China that chairman is great and should not be made fun of. To some extent, it shows the generation gap about politics is becoming obvious and people’s attitudes about leaders of the nation have also changed.

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by hnavery » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:47 pm

This advertisement displays a beautiful young woman with a look of surprise on her face. She appears to be about to take a bite of a sandwich. Below the woman the sandwich is depicted again along with a drink and French fries. This literal aspect of the image is known as the non-coded iconic message.
The next part of this advertisement is the linguistic message. The logo in the corner indicates that the brand is Burger King – a well-known international fast food chain. “It’ll Blow Your Mind Away” is an idiom that specifically American audiences can identify with. Burger King intends for its audience to read this statement as meaning the sandwich is so delicious that the mind cannot handle it. People of different cultures or languages would interpret this statement as literally getting one’s mind blown away. The phrase “Super Seven Incher” can also be taken to literally refer to the size of the sandwich that Burger King is trying to sell. However, both these phrases also have extremely sexual connotation which leads me to the next way of viewing and analyzing an image.
The third aspect of this image is the coded iconic message. The image is extremely sexual in that it depicts the sandwich in a phallic manner. The woman’s facial expression shows a mouth that is wide open as if she is about to give fellatio to the phallus. The terms “blow” and “super seven incher” further add to the advertisement’s sexual attitude. The red in the woman’s lips is a symbol of passion and sexual appetite. The white of the sauce on the sandwich could be interpreted to represent a man’s semen. This ad’s target is a younger audience – most older audiences would find this image vulgar and unappealing but in a world in which young minds are constantly bombarded with sexual images, from magazines to television, this advertisement hardly stands out.
This is a photo from a Senior Prom. The formal clothing suggests a day filled with seriousness and an attempt to portray ‘perfection.’ The background also adds to the intention of obtaining memorable and nice pictures. However, the faces and the positioning of the two individuals suggests a playful attitude. On a day in which most people try to look good and be presented in the best light, these two go out of their way to inject some comedy into the situation. The bright colors also adds to this sense of joyfulness.

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Re: w03 Roland Barthes

Post by atbournes » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:27 pm

The advertisement I chose to discuss is a 2008 NBA playoffs promotional ad. The advertisement is split vertically in half; the left side depicting Kobe Bryants face and the right side featuring Shaquille O'neals.

Linguistically the ad focuses on the phrase "There can only be one" located in the center of the ad across both players faces. Written in smaller lettering, are the phrases "Nba playoffs 2008" and "Where Amazing happens" The text in this ad would fall under the category of Anchorage. It goes beyond simply narrating the image, but permits the viewer to focus their understanding of the image by reinforcing conflict between the two men pictured regardless of if they are identifiable by the viewer. Without the text, the viewer would be free to interpret the two men as friends, or lovers or co-workers, or any combination of two black males they could come up with, however the text "remote controls the viewer towards a meaning chosen in advance". Linguistically this is an ad about two feuding men in the Nba playoffs and it will be where amazing will happen. Complete ideological control.

As far as the coded iconic message goes goes one must discuss the relationship between Shaq and Kobe in 2008. While the two were originally know as a dynamic duo, by 2008, a longstanding feud between the two had resulted in them being split up on now rival teams, thus using both of their faces to create one face calls to mind obvious issues. This message is indeed coded as one without knowledge of the NBA or without specific knowledge about the 2008 season, would not fully grasp the tension being signified in the photo. However one with such knowledge would not even necessarily need the text to understand the tension, although the text further highlights their rocky relationship. One could also argue that the NBA logo and the acronym NBA,(standing for National basketball Association) are also elements of the coded iconic message.

The non coded iconic message can be found in the solemn expression on both men's faces. Clearly they are not the happiest of campers, so one could begin to read the strife-full narrative without much if any cultural knowledge of the people depicted. Also it is worth noting that despite being fused into one head, the halves were not made to seamlessly fit together (there was no attempt to match up hairlines or lips perfectly) which may also contribute to one reading the two men being at odds with one another.

The personal image I chose is a video still from a public service announcement I shot with NCAA Basketball superstar and fellow Gaucho, Orlando Johnson.

Linguistically the only text that can be found is "Dream Chasers" written across Orlando's Shirt. While this was not planned or discussed before the shoot, one may read the text to suggest that he and i are individuals whom seek out their desires to the fullest. This is obviously the case for NBA bound, Johnson, for me it is yet to be determined.The coded iconic message can be found in the identity of Orlando Johnson. Without the cultural knowledge of who he is, the "celebrity" presence of the photo may be missed entirely, rendering the photo to be a stereotypical college aged party shot. The non coded message is found in the presence of the basketball. At the very least it would cause most viewers to assume that basketball played a somewhat relevant role in Orlando's life and for many it would cause them to assume, correctly, that Orlando is a basketball player.
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