Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

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Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by glegrady » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:08 pm

After reading Roland Barthes' article "Rhetoric of the Image", select an ad and a personal photo and discuss both separately using Roland Barthes' system of the three messages. Your ad should come from the corporate world, something like an ad, a news picture, can be a scientific illustration, etc, and then select an image that is of a casual nature: snapshot, family, etc.
George Legrady

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by hcboydstun » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:25 pm

After reading Roland Barthes' article "Rhetoric of the Image," I decided to analyze two images that are similar in content, but polar opposites in terms of Barthes' system of the three messages:


Lets begin with the image above. The linguistic message in this sense, is the text used by the AT&T company. This includes the phrases Best coverage worldwide and More phones that work in more than 215 countries, like France. In this case, both of these phrases are anchoring, or they help identify the elements of the scene and the scene itself. In other words, these phrases aid in anchoring the denoted meaning of the object to itself. Thus, these language cues are not only helping the viewer understand what they are seeing, but navigate through what they are seeing in a positive light. For example, when the viewer reads the words worldwide and France, they understand that what they are looking at is the Eiffel Tower. More so, when reading the phrase best coverage the viewer then associates the both the company AT&T and the purpose of the ad in a positive light. If the ad read the worst coverage worldwide, the audience’s initial reaction to the ad may more negative.

Next, the denoted message of this ad is the literal image: a few sets of hands that have been intricately painted to resemble the Eiffel Tower. This denoted image implies no code, but rather, naturalizes the symbolic message. In other words, this is the very top layer that the audience visually sees, without any interpretation of what they are seeing.

Lastly, the connoted message is the sort of 'cultural messages' we infer from the advertisement. As stated by Barthes, the way we decipher information occurs on multiples levels: ‘attitudes’ toward the image, knowledge of art, tourism…ect. Each one of these levels illustrates how invested in the image an individual can become. For instance, the imagery of the Eiffel Tower will have a differing connotation for me (an American) as it will for a person from France. Likewise, the artistic quality of this piece may appeal more to those viewer’s who are artists themselves. Even further, the add will be interpreted differently based on who has AT&T as their cell- phone carrier and those who, for sake of argument, have Verizon. All of these factors can range and differ from person to person.



This image above is from a vacation that I took last summer. In this image, the linguistic message is non-existent. There is no textual information given to the viewer from which he/she can interpret anything about my photo.

The denoted message of this photo is, again, the literal image: a photo of the Eiffel Tower with a large bubble in the center. Yet, unlike the first ad, my image has more imagery to take in. While the first ad had a plain gradient background, my image has a cityscape included. For instance, off to the right, the viewer can see the individual who was making the bubble, and under the Eiffel tower we are aware of a man that happened to be walking on the sidewalk. We can also tell by the dimming lights and darkened sky that it is either early morning or early evening. Also, we can see a puddle on the sidewalk under the bubble; this could mean that the bubble making has been going on for some time. These small details inferred from the image itself all are part of the encompassing denoted message.

Lastly, the connoted message can be most clearly demonstrated in the difference between my personal connotation of this photo, and the rest of the audience. Hence, because this photo is a personal memoir of mine, I associate this image with everything else I had done this day: Eaten hotdogs at the Museum D’Orsay, spoke French with an old woman in a flee market…ect. In this sense, my perception of this image is very personalized, whereas anyone else’s perception of this photo would be much different. Culturally, this photo was very special and unique to me because I had never been to France, whereas this same photo taken by a French person may have not meant the same.
Last edited by hcboydstun on Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by sidrockafello » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:35 am


Using the system conjured in “Rhetoric of the Image” by Roland Barthes I have decided to compare two photographs similar in regards to the references to sports.

The first photograph I am going to start with is my old high school football photo. In my photo you can see nine players standing on a well lit football field and behind them are the rest of the school’s sports fields. This does not leave much of a linguistic message because no additional high school tags are photo-shopped in, nor can you see any of the player’s numbers clearly. So to any viewer this photo would have to read more so by its connotated meaning and visual symbolism to decipher a meaning from this photograph. To any unknown viewer this image can only mean so many things because the context of this photo is particular to a moment in time within my own life. For instance, while people may see nine players and not think too much of it, I know that myself and the other eight players were the only squad that started all four years. On the other hand, while this photo is meaningless to others they would more than likely be able to figure out that this is a high school football photo shoot with no hidden message. This picture overall is basic symbolism, much like a how a school is recognized by its mascot, so this picture is basically adding faces to a yearbook for that specific time.
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The Van Heusen advertisement, showing three professional football players, holdings helmets and promoting the Van Heusen Company is an ad taken out of a magazine that I am going analyze. After examining the image I understood that I am the target audience for an advertisement such as this, and because I recognize this and the associated feelings, I would say as an advertisement it works very effectively.

The Linguistic message in the Van Heusen advertisement is the Van Heusen Institute of Style, as well as having the name and signatures of Jerry Rice, Matthew Stafford and Steve Young. Van Heusen is trying to restructure the way men dress and carry themselves off the field, and in some sense build upon the American ideological worldview. The first signifier is the denotation on the image. On the bottom of the page under the player “Institute of Style” is printed largely, however the player’s names are also included just above the caption. Equally important to the caption below is the tagging of each player’s name next to themselves with their signatures. All together this presents a sign that means something in the real world. What Van Heusen is trying to accomplish is to reinforce in the viewers mind that Van Heusen is an authority in men’s style. Not only does Van Heusen have the suits that make men look good it is endorsed by bug name football stars who have an authority that the public already respect. So when Van Heusen puts their signatures on their poster, what that signifies is that the Institute of Style in a sense is real. What this means to the viewer like myself is, these three phenomenal players who are looked upon as Gods to men are dressed in very classy suits that can only be made by Van Heusen and you can be just as awesome if you buy our clothes and wear it.

In conjunction with the linguistic message, the symbolic message is just as important because it alludes to the second message behind just looking good. Van Heusen has combined the imagery of a classic football cover with the poses that reflect power, status, and wealth. The football field, the lights, and the helmets speaks to anyone who has ever played or watched football because it is a culturally recognizable image that means power, strength, and masculinity. In addition, the three men as strong and powerful as they are, they are tastefully dressed and very presentable for any high end event. You can also see they are also carrying their football helmets, which visually communicates to the viewer, not only can to dress good, you can still be tough and maintain a certain level of ruggedness.

In the end, what you see is what you get. There is a photo of three idolized men who are telling people through imagery that wearing suits not only looks cool but is tough. The plan is to invade the minds of men or women shopping for men and infer that this line of thinking and dressing is the path to follow. The high school photo which only speaks to a group of people who shared a life moment together can only mean so much to an audience because it is so common.
Last edited by sidrockafello on Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by slpark » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:23 pm


The first image that I chose for this assignment is a Camel cigarette advertisement. The first linguistic message that is evident in this image is the phrase "Camel. Where a man belongs." This phrase implies the ideas that smoking is a masculine activity, and especially so when one is smoking Camel brand cigarettes. This linguistic message is the most important in the advertisement (evident because it was put in the largest font, and on the upper left) because it reveals the advertisement's target audience: men. The next obvious linguistic message is "Experience the Camel taste in Lights and Filters" underneath their product. This message is not as clear as the first, but offers the potential customer variety. This phrase suggests that Camel has something, cigarettes, for everyone and every taste and that whatever the customer chooses it will still have that same great "Camel taste". These first two messages direct the audience into interpreting the image in a way that is attractive. Smoking comes off as being manly, rugged, and cool. It is also shown as an activity for men, and that only the most masculine men smoke Camel. The third and final linguistic message in this advertisement, however, is pushed into the bottom left corner of the ad. This is also strategic as it warns of all the health risks of smoking cigarettes, clueing the viewers in on the not so masculine and glamorous side of it. This text is made smaller then everything else, making it very difficult to read, and is placed where the eye would view it last almost as if it were an after thought.

Next is the coded-iconic message, or the cultural information that is present in this advertisement. Immediately, the viewer sees that a man is smoking against a motorcycle in a field. A closer look shows you that the man is not clean shaven, semi fashionable, and gives off the air of cool nonchalance. He sits on the motorcycle in a very casual pose, almost leaning on it. This adds to his air of nonchalance, while the motorcycle icon cements his status as a very masculine archetype. Though he appears to be in a field, the rest of the setting is blurred and ambiguous. It could be that he was in the middle of riding through the mountains, or any number of scenarios. The blurred background allows the man to be the focus of the image, while also allowing the viewer to project what they think/want is happening to the image. This phenomena is part of the non-coded iconic message. The ambiguous setting of the place, and the man's half-turned away face allows the audience to create their own ideal story about who, what, and where this is. Thus, even though it is most obviously targeted towards men, women might also find it appealing based on the advertisement's ability to create the everyman-mystery man.

Overall this image is very successful in what it tries to do. The Camel man becomes the every man that anyone, regardless of gender, can project their desires onto. Thus, it creates a desirability in this otherwise hazardous product.


My second image is a snapshot of my friend, Kyle, that I took while we were out. The coded-iconic messages of this image very. Firstly, to anyone who is familiar with IV, the bicycle that Kyle is on isn't just a commuter bike but a bike that is used by residents of IV to pick up cans for recycling and profit all throughout the community. His facial expression suggests that he is excited or enjoying himself, while his clothes signify that he is dressed up to go somewhere (we were going to a 70s party). The non-coded iconic message is similar to the Camel advertisement. It is unclear where Kyle is, or what he is really doing. Is he riding the bike? Is he actually collecting recyclables? The bike is locked, is he stealing it? Is he in Isla Vista or somewhere else? These are the questions that make this photo interesting to viewers who haven't seen this photo. The denotation of this image to me is that I captured a ridiculous moment of one of my friends while we were out. From an outside perspective, the denotation is that some guy is on a bike and having fun. It might connote that Kyle is mischievous, or up to no good for people who don't know him or the context of this photo.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by erikshalat » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:28 am

My first image is an advertisement for the movie Superman Returns sponsored by the "Got Milk?" association.


Linguistically, we have a brief paragraph to the left of the central figure in the image. The text reads as follows; "Super. Thats how milk makes you feel. The calcium helps bones grow strong, so even if you're not from Krypton™ you can have bones of steel. got milk?". In the bottom right of the image underneath the Superman Returns logo is the title of the movie and the date of it's release in theaters. The text is anchorage that helps the reader make sense of the image of Superman with a milk mustache. It could easily be misconstrued as a parodic image rather than a legitimate advertisement if not for this anchorage. It helps us to recognize what is being advertised- milk, and because of that we view the image searching for it's relationship to the product being advertised. The bottom text, under the logo of the Superman Returns movie, lets us know that this advertisement is simultaneously instructing us to view the image in relation to an upcoming movie. We can gauge whether or not the image is visually stimulating in relation to the film. This linguistic message is pretty straight-forward.

The denoted message is a man in a colorful caped outfit, standing strong against a background of clouds and the upper atmosphere. His cape blows in the wind as the man stares confidently towards the viewer, making this image very confrontational. The logo on the man's chest, a big stylized S in a shield shield, is repeated three times. Once on his chest, another time on his belt, and a third time floating in the lower right of the image. The lower right clearly does not exist in the same physical plane as the man, it belongs in a more "hypothetical realm".

The connotated message, what we understand about the image because of our cultural upbringing, is that if we drink milk we can become as strong as Superman. Superman is one of the few explicitly "American" icons- a character created in 1938 that became a worldwide phenomenon. Superman is a household name, nearly everyone can recognize Superman just by seeing the familiar three primary colors- red, blue and yellow. Superman is synonymous with insane raw strength, masculine attractiveness, the unnatural ability to fly (one of man's oldest dreams) and heroism. This advertisement leads us to believe that by drinking milk, which is known to help bones grow strong, we will not only be as strong as Superman- who is seen with a milk mustache indicating that this image takes place shortly after he has taken a big drink of milk- but we will also have his other attributes. In conjunction with this, if we go see the movie "Superman Returns" we will be sponsoring a healthy message of encouragement to have a bigger calcium intake. The confrontational gaze from Superman into the viewer is less of a challenge and more of a call to rise to the task. It says, if you don't drink milk or don't go see this movie, i'll have put my faith in you for no reason. Superman exists to uplift humanity, and we should feel guilty if we don't meet his expectations.

The next image is of me and my brother on vacation.


The only clear linguistic message comes from the container of odd maroon beverage my brother is holding in his hand. It is called "Doganay: Salgam Suyu". That doesn't help me in particular to understand what it is (although I can tell you it tasted like vinegar) but I can definitely understand it as a brand name. The way the logo of the drink faces the viewer makes the image seem like an advertisement, that is the prism it can be viewed through now.

The denoted message is of my brother holding a beverage and winking and smiling facing the camera. I can be seen also staring at the camera through the gap between his arm and torso with a big smile on my face. There are people behind me to my right not making eye contact with the camera. We are all wearing t-shirts. We appear to be in a long corridor or doors and windows. We are seated at table with images of different food items on plates. There are cans and bags on top of the table.

The connotation of this picture is that it was taken to resemble an advertisement, with my brother supporting a product he was given. The angles of the corridor we are in all point directly towards my brother's head, drawing the viewers attention to his big smile and wink in support of Doganay. This would be the case if I had not poked my head through the cracks in his silhouette. My unexpected face creates a point of contrast that makes the viewer look towards my face to see the "crack" in the "armor" of the photo. The way we are all wearing casual clothing and bringing bags with us (as seen on the table) contrast the language (turkish) seen on the bottle. This reveals us as tourists, most likely. To see a tourist advertising a drink that he likely doesn't get in his own country and with such an unnatural enthusiasm shows that the image is meant to be ironic. My face being there, unbeknownst to my brother or anyone else in our party, is what is called a photobomb. Photobombing has become increasingly popular with the viral spreading of images over the internet. It is a source of humor in a lot of images. Here it makes the staged picture seem a lot more candid.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image - Sydney Vande Guc

Post by sydneyvg » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:03 pm

The linguistic message of this advertisement is short, reading "Ralph Lauren Romance" on the right-hand side above the perfume bottle. The message brings meaning to the photograph on the left. The brand of the perfume is implied by "Ralph Lauren," while "Romance" further influences the way that that the audience views the intimate photograph on the left side of the ad.

The denoted message is a woman in a long flowy, somewhat dreamy or princess-like dress riding a horse while accompanied by a handsome, fashionable young man riding beside her. She is wearing all white or a pale beige while he is wearing all black. She is smiling as he pulls her towards him to kiss her on the face. They are in an empty tall grass-filled field with no apparent path from which they came or to which they are going. There appears to be a castle-like tower in the background. The right side of the ad is the perfume bottle adorned with a few flowers.

The connotated message, or what we understand from the advertisement due to our cultural upbringing is that if women wear this perfume, they will live a romantic life. Her presence in the ad is to young women want to be her. Her white or pale beige dress may symbolize her innocence while his all black attire may suggest mysteriousness or that he's a "bad boy." However, from the way that he appears to be treating her, he is actually quite the opposite, rather a bad boy gone good. He has taken her horseback riding in an unpopulated, undisturbed, tall grass-filled field with no apparent path. The trees around the background towards the edge of the field suggest the area as being secluded. The castle-like tower further implies a fairy-tale type romance between the couple. Their positioning in this field suggests that they have wandered off only to be in each others' company- how romantic...

This is a photo of my friend and I last year. The only text is that which is on his shirt, reading "ISLA VISTA where the party never stops." This alone shapes the photo to be viewed as a party scene. From the latter part of the phrase, we understand Isla Vista must be a place. Could this photo have been taken in Isla Vista?

The denotated message is the literal image. In this case, it is him and I posing and smiling in front of some fenced off lines of people. I'm not wearing enough clothes while he's wearing fairly regular clothing but glasses with no lenses in the frames. The people surrounding us are wearing a lot of bright neon colors. Someone even has a hula hoop. The fences appear to be temporary. From the ground, it seems as though they have been set up in an asphalt area like a parking lot. Although it seems to be night time, tall lights brightly illuminate the area and palm trees are in the distance.

The connotated message suggests that we are at a party.The style of clothing that people are wearing hint to what kind of party we are at exactly. Like I said, I'm wearing hardly anything as may be also true for the girl to the right of my friend. The girl to my left is wearing clothing adorned with large daisies and sparkles, with fishnet orange tights and fluffy shoes. My friend is wearing those horrible glasses like many other guys in the behind us. Growing up in the United States, most people are familiar with the appearance of rave culture as implied by everyone's attire. If one is very familiar with raves, one may be able to infer that we are waiting in line with other guests to enter the venue. If one is familiar with Isla Vista, one would know we are not in IV anymore! If one has been to EDC Las Vegas, one may realize this is indeed EDC Las Vegas. Different levels of cultural knowledge and experience lend to the understanding of this image.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by amandajackson » Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:01 am

Like any advertisement, this Ikea ad narrows the attention of the viewer by eliciting a linguistic message. The largest print reads: "Bone appétit", used to wish some one enjoyment of the meal that they are about to indulge. This phrase denotes a sophisticated, perhaps intimate meal that has been prepared and given a special presentation. Reading further into the ad, "Dinner time is when family comes together so it makes sense to include the family's best friend!" This comment draws on the emotional relationship between people and dogs, man's best friend. This advertisement also includes a play on words, "set the table for your paw-fect dinner guests". Dogs are not conventional table guests, but rather eat on the ground, below us. This high-chair for your best friend gives the dog the ability to be on an even level, taking away the characteristics of pets that include free motion and instead personifying them in a domestic setting. Aside from the denoted iconic messages, there are also connoted iconic messages present in the ad. There are two dogs in the image, a golden lab and a brown lab. In our culture it is not unusual for one to be referred to as the golden child in comparison to their siblings whom are not given the same allowances. The golden lab is the dog that happens to be given the high chair to eat their meal, they are the dog that is welcomed to join the family. The second dog, the brown lab, is still on the ground, where dogs usually enjoy their meal, looking up, wishing they too were able to enjoy their meal at the family table. In the smallest print on the ad, it is disclosed that the dog is not included. This comment suggests that you can not buy a best friend, that relationship is one that you have to develop on your own and this chair facilitates more interaction between you and your four pawed friend.
My personal photo is a snapshot from the Ostrich farms. At the farms you can buy food and feed the prehistoric animals. My personal photo has a linguistic message: a sign posted on the fence that says "Yes, we like to bite". Behind the sign is the Ostrich, also in frame is an extended arm holding out food to the Ostrich which has just taken a bite, there is food in it's mouth. By itself the sign indicates that you should not keep any of your limbs near the Ostrich, yet the person in view is voluntarily holding out their fingers to the hungry bird. What are the coded and non-coded iconic messages? First, humans are willing to risk their own health for entertainment. We are more than willing to domesticate wild animals for our own pleasure. Like the Ikea advertisement that I discussed previously, this image shows how we are taking away the animalistic behaviors of an animal, in this case the hunting and foraging of the Ostrich, and replacing it with our own power to control their feeding. With the food in our hands, we are the ultimate dictator. The non-coded message is that humans are determined to be the ultimate ruler of all things, natural and foreign.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by crismali » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:09 pm

In Roland Barthes’ article “Rhetoric of the Image”, he lays out three messages one can gather from an image. Here I will examine a professional ad and a personal snapshot using his three message system.


The Linguistic message:
In this ad, there are only five words in small print in the bottom right corner: “Air Wick, with Motion Sensor”. The audience can gather right away that “Air Wick” is the name of the brand, because of how it is written within a graphic image and is set apart from the other words. Secondly, “with Motion Sensor” plays with the image itself and “participates anecdotally” as Barthes says, and how this phrase does that will be discussed further on once the image has been discussed.

The Denoted message:
This is the non-coded message, or what is plainly seen in the ad without cultural meaning attached. In this ad, a home bathroom is shown which contains a sink, soap, a bathtub, towels, colorful tiles on the walls, etc. The room is dark and light can be seen coming in through a crack in the door and the image appears average and unexciting. What captures the viewers interest is that on top of the ajar door sits a bucket filled to maximum capacity with all kinds of flowers. This alone is abnormal and interesting to the viewer.

The Coded message:
This is the message which comes from cultural meanings which the viewer attaches to certain colors, situations, people, settings, etc. In this image, the bathroom suggests an average, middle to upper class home bathroom. We can see that the lights are off in the bathroom and that the light is only coming in through the crack in the door, which suggests that no one is in this bathroom that we are looking at. The flowers sitting on top of the door is a reference to a cliché and well known prank: by putting a can of paint(or some other liquid) on top of a cracked door, the next person to walk into that room will unknowingly push open the door only to have said paint dumped all over them. The audience is expected to understand this reference, and to infer that the flowers have replaced the paint in this situation. Since “Air Wick” is an air-freshener company, the audience understands that the ad is saying when you walk into the room you will be bombarded by a great smell (the smell of flowers, for instance).
Now that the image is understood, the already mentioned linguistic
message can now add another layer to the image. “With Motion Sensor” now to the audience gives the last bit of information: not only will you be bombarded with a great smell when you walk into the bathroom, but only when you walk into the room with the air wick device be set off.

The second image analyzed is a snap shot from a friend.

I will analyze this image with the same three message system as the “Air Wick” ad.

The Linguistic message:
The linguistic message in this image is seen solely on what looks to be some sort of map. It says “you are here!” with an arrow, and the word “skoma...” below, cut off by the girl’s hand. The message here is pretty ambiguous– the audience here is unsure as to what “skoma” is or why the map is so large with so little detail other than “you are here!”.

The Denoted message:
The Denoted message in this image is that there is a girl who was looking at a map, and she is looking with wonder and reaching out to a monkey that is sitting on a table. The lighting in the picture is dim, and there are coats and other homey items about.

The Coded message:
Since the curtains are closed and the lights are on, the audience can assume that it is dark outside. She is looking at a map so we can also infer that she is traveling, and is somewhere she is not familiar with. The image suggests that while she is traveling, she is not in a hotel (because of the coats and other home items) but rather a friend or family member’s house. We can then further assume that the monkey in the picture is some type of pet. Since the girl looks entertained by the monkey, it seems that she is from a part of the world that does not typically see monkeys, much less as pets.
The coded message is the message the audience gathers from cultural context, clues, and meaning given to certain objects, and from this candid shot we can gather a basic understanding of the situation in which it was taken. It is more difficult, however, to analyze a candid shot for meaning than the company advertisement, because in the ad there was specific meaning created intended for an audience. In this snapshot, there was no meaning intended for anyone other than the people who were there when the picture was taken. Of course, therefore, it is quite impossible to know exactly what is happening.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by ashleyf » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:55 pm

In terms of linguistics, this minimalist advertisement says “it’s the hat” under a silhouette of the the mans hat and what appears to be a hitler like mustache. In the top right corner, the company’s logo Hut Weber. The linguistic message is what aids the viewer into understanding the german company which can change your appearance to looking like someone else.

The denoted message is the two faces which are missing many details such as the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The face on the left is an apparent image of Hitler’s hairdo with the infamous mustache. The face on the left hand side is the same image on the left but with a top hat on. The top hat on the person with the same facial features of the mustache and hair do, is what the advertisement is trying to push.

The connotated message of this advertisement is pretty straight forward because of the minimal information. The advertisement is saying is telling you with this hat you can change the way people see you and it changes who you are. Specifically for this advertisement the hat changes the person from looking like Hitler to looking like Charlie Chaplin.
My personal photo is a photo I'm using of my brother. The linguistic message that can be seen is the text on my brothers shirt saying “I Hella <3 Oakland”. The message on the shirt has no relation to the rest of the picture and stands alone. From what we can see there are no other text that appears.

The denotated message is the literal image of my brother sitting there about to, or currently eating a feast that is in front of him. My brother has a really big smile on his face and a thumbs up signifying the happiness and approval of this delicious food. In front of him is an assortment of different foods. The surrounding environment shows a bunch of different picnic tables and families enjoying the same type of food that is seen on the table.

The connotated message suggests that my brother is ready to eat this delicious meal as a family style buffet. the surroundings of my brother suggests that this is a family type of setting because of the young boy behind him. There is so specific way to tell where this photo was taken at from the information provided but if you have been in california and have ever eaten at disneyland’s Big thunder ranch you can notice some subtle clues that would let you know it’s there. Someone who is unfamiliar might think that this is just a picnic at a park where multiple families are at.

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Re: Wk04 - Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image

Post by kevinalcantar » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:43 pm

According to Roland Barthes, images can send out three messages: the liguistic message, denoted message and the connoted message. This is particularly true for advertisements. For example, consider this 1971 Mini Clubman Automatic advertisement.


Using Barthes' three messages, the image speaks volumes. First, let's analyze its linguistic message.

The linguistic message of an image is the text on the photo. This text provides anchorage, as well as providing a verbal or textual context for the viewer. In this image, the text reads "The Mini Automatic. For simple driving." A relatively innocent sounding piece of text. What can the audience gather from this? Initially nothing much except that the Mini Automatic is an easier automobile to drive.

The denote message is what is literally portrayed in the image without any culturally constructed meaning attached. The advert shows a young blonde woman in the driver's seat of the car. The woman has a perplexed and almost scared look on her face. Her body language seems to imply anxiety at the thought of driving as she clutches her steering wheel and bites her lip nervously; seemingly daunted at the thought of operating a car.

The connoted message or the coded message is seen when the audience views the image through the context of culture. By recognizing recurring familiar patterns in imagery, the viewer attaches cultural meaning to certain people, situations or even colors. Here, the connoted message is that woman can't drive or are too dumb to understand the mechanics behind driving cars. The woman is scared but the advertisement assures her, and any other woman who happens to be seeing the image, that there is no reason to fret as the Mini Automatic is such a simple car to drive that even a woman could get behind the wheel.

Using Barthes' three messages, I will now analyze a personal picture.
The linguistic message in this image is close to non-existent. The only text in the image is from the sign itself and only serves to show the viewer that yes, this is indeed a street sign. However, the text does not describe or alter any meaning in the image.

The denoted message is my friend posing with stolen street sign. The street sign is implied to be stolen because it is a freeway overpass sign and not something you would find propped up against an apartment wall as this image depicts. My friend is posing next to the sign, tossing a thumbs up sign and grinning a huge smile.

The connoted message is that the sign is stolen and that this was something my friend found amusing. The freeway sign is large and made of metal so although anyone can steal anything at any point in their lives, a freeway sign is something that is more daunting and requires effort. Because of this effort, the audience can assume the subject in the photo is pleased with what he has acquired. Although stealing is a crime and frowned upon, the subject in the picture is not only amused, but supportive of this; giving the act (and the sign) a thumbs up. My friend is posing so it is obvious this image is a orchestrated photo rather than a candid shot.

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