2. Barthes Project

Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:26 pm

2. Barthes Project

Post by glegrady » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:19 pm

This project is due October 12. PLease send separate files under the following Subject headings:

Barthes article Response

Personal Image Analysis

Advertising Analysis

For the last two include the image followed by the analysis
George Legrady

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: 2. Barthes Project

Post by amirzaian » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:12 pm

Response to Barth Article

Roland Barth’s article dealt with the idea of how we the viewer perceive images.
The three key messages that spoke of were, the linguistic message, the coded iconic message,
and the non coded iconic message. The fist message, linguistic, dealt with text in images and
how the text informs the viewer directly on what the intention or theme of the article is about. He
spoke about anchorage and relaying, which were the two functions of the linguistic image. Barth
claimed, “the text is really the creator’s (and hence the society’s) right-of-inspection of the
image:” and that “anchoring is a means of control, it bears a responsibility, confronting the
projective power of the figures, as to the use of the message.” The second message which
Barth spoke of was that of the denoted image or non coded iconic message. The denoted
image according to Barth, “naturalizes the symbolic message, it makes “innocent” the vary
dense (especially in advertising) semantic artifice of connotation.” this was the idea that the
objects or subjects within the image were randomly placed in their position spontaneously
without any interference. The last message was the coded iconic message which dealt with the
icons with in an image. For example in the Panzani ad the coded iconic messages with in the
image where the fresh tomatoes, the cornucopia look of all the food, which suggested bounty,
and the red green and white colors, which suggested the “Italianicity” as a cultural message.

Social Image
This is a picture taken this past summer in Las Vegas for my friends Bachelor Party. The
image was taken from my friends cell phone. The fist thing that comes to mind when i see this
image an advertisement for Las Vegas, however when compared to Roland Barth’s ideals on
image analysis there inlies more connotation. When we look at what is represented with in this
image, other wise known as the denotation of an image, we can see that there are a group of
people possibly in their mid to late twenties surrounding a roulette table inside of a casino.
Although there isn’t an inherent linguistic message the numbers on the table automatically
suggest the idea of gambling. Another message which could be applied to this images is the
coded iconic message. The table itself is a coded iconic message in that it is a familiar cultural
icon, the icon of gambling seen though out the U.S. Contrary to the coded iconic message one
way in which this image could be seen as a non coded iconic message would be the
spontaneous placement of the subjects within the image. For example i know for a fact that this
image was purely for documentation of the night because i was there and know that it was not
arranged specifically. However one could argue that the connotation of the image could
suggest an underlying meaning. For example the young subjects within the image connects to
the demographic of individuals within the age group of the people in the image.

Ad Image
In this advertisement created by Vitamin Water the viewer is presented with a cup full of
vitamins almost to the point of overflowing out of the cup. The text above the cup suggests, “It
doesn’t have to be this complicated” meaning that one bottle of Vitamin Water is all one needs
to receive the daily dose of vitamins necessary for good health. The text at the bottom of the
advertisement says, “Luckily you now have an easier way to get the job done. Each
vitaminwater is specifically formulated with ingredients you need to both energise and balance
your day.” This is the typical caption used in the Linguistic message. The text directs the viewer
straight to the point of the ads intentions. This is also done by the coded iconic message with in
the picture which shows the image of the glass cup overflowing with vitamins. In the coded
message suggest that one bottle of vitamin water will give you all the nutrition you need instead
of taking a cup full of pills. The viewers eye automatically goes from the disgusting cup of dry
dull colored vitamins to the bright and thirst quenching bottle of viaminwater. This can also be
seen as the non coded message. For example the white background with the cup of pills
positioned there by itself. All of these messages were specifically created to make the viewer
want to go out and buy a vitaminwater which was done through the used of the image and the

Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:08 am

Re: 2. Barthes Project

Post by yunjikim » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:40 am

Barthes article Response
Roland Barthes discusses the various effects of an image, depending on how the viewer interprets and understands each conveyed message. Through a linguistic message, a viewer may construe the implication of an image based on what the artist writes. Depending on the linguistic message, a viewer’s understanding of the message may be swayed toward a particular idea that the artist might be trying to convey. Another message that a viewer can interpret is the coded iconic message – the implied inference of an image. Social constructs determine the connotation of particular words, images, and situations. For example, in Roland Barthes’ analysis of the Panzani advertisement, the coded iconic message can be symbolic. Thus, the coordinated colors of the advertisement are symbolic of the Italian culture, which suggests the authenticity of the product. The other iconic message Barthes discusses is the non-coded iconic message. Though viewers quickly jump to the coded, connotative meaning of an image, the denotative message is the structure and the literal event that is depicted on an image.

Advertising Analysis
Marlboro Cigarettes ads depict a life of simplicity and independence of a cowboy, which creates the ideal male fantasy. By marketing their cigarettes with attractive and masculine cowboys, Marlboro advertises their cigarettes as the connotation of manly, which theoretically, would increase consumer rates from those who would like to be perceived as masculine. The denotation is merely a man sitting down for a smoke. However, the way the cowboy presents himself through his posture and body language connotes a bad-boy taking advantage of his freedom and lack of family-oriented responsibilities. The heavy emphasis on cowboys regarding natural beauty, masculinity and individuality is an apparent use of Roland Barthes’ semic code in the genre of the western.
With the common knowledge of cowboys’ independence and symbolic freedom, the reference code engages the viewers by identifying the assumed, shared knowledge. The depicted cowboy – the signified – is the concept of what men desire. Also used in Marlboro advertisement of the shielded cowboy is the enigma code, in which the ambiguous character allows the viewers to question who the lone stranger is.

Personal Image Analysis
(Sorry, I didn't know how to get the URL for an image that i already have in my documents so this was the best I could do)
This is a photo of my friend and roommate at a wedding. The immediate and mislead idea of what is going on in the photograph is of two younger people dancing at a semi-formal event. Merely looking at the type of attire and the lighting, viewers of this photograph would easily state that this photo was taken at a formal event. Also, as the majority of the current generation would know, two people caught close together back to front suggests the modern dance position.
Thus, the non-coded iconic message would be that a couple is dancing together, back to front, as the new age popular culture dance has become. In addition, the way the girl, Sydney, appears to be laughing/smiling is a connotation of enjoyment and happiness. This is misread because the photograph was taken at the exact moment that the guy was walking behind the girl. The coded message, however, suggests sexual interest between the two subjects of the photograph. Linguistic message does not appear in this photo.

Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:00 am

Re: 2. Barthes Project

Post by Stephanie_V » Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:43 pm

Response to Barthes Article
Barthes starts the article by reminding readers of the root word for image is imitari - Latin for "to imitate." His article presented the question about whether or not a copy of an object can truly communicate a message or whether it simply transmits symbols that are perhaps incoherent. Barthes writes that linguistics tells us that an image cannot communicate a message because it is not based on a spoken language. However, though an image might not verbally communicate with its viewers, it can still transmit a message. This is done in three different ways.

The Linguistic Message
This is text that may be found in an image. It serves to either confirm or direct the viewer to the conclusion of what the symbols in the image connote. Each symbol may have an array of messages for its viewer to choose from. Sometimes symbols need text to syntagmatically form a message. It is important to note that the text is biased toward the creator's point-of-view. Since everyone is a product of their circumstances, the creator's point-of-view is very likely one that can be understood by someone living within that culture. Thus, this creates a code that can be shared from creator to viewer and a message can be communicated.

The Denoted Message
This is the literal object represented as a copy. A photographic image (copy of an object) is denoted and can literally transmit information without having an underlying meaning (code). This is because a photograph is an exact copy of the original object (not counting Photoshop and other processing techniques). Barthes says the photograph is "registered mechanically, but not humanly" (p 33). A drawing can be denoted and still transmit a different meaning than that of the original object because a person creates a drawing by hand, by the way they perceive the original (or at least the way they want it to be perceived), and can have its own style, just like handwriting.

The Connoted Message
This would be the cultural meaning transmitted through a sign. A cultural meaning can vary from viewer to viewer. It all depends on each individual's personal background. In a way, it is like a cultural language that can be translated in several different ways. Images possess signifiers ("connotators") and when put together syntagmatically, they form a "rhetoric" (p 38).

Personal Image Analysis

The only linguistic message from this picture comes from the shoe, "All Star." It represents a shoe that have a massive following in our culture.

The denoted images are: my mother, her laptop, my grandmother, and myself. In the background you can see mountains and flowers on the grass. This photograph was taken at a cemetery and it is something we do every year. Every Mother's Day, we visit my great-grandmother's grave. We always bring flowers and often bring food.

The connoted message: From looking at this picture, viewers probably understand that this is not a sad time but a happy time. My mother's laptop represents who she is - a woman who works 24/7. The person in the middle, my grandmother, is always the center of our family. She brings us together for all occasions by planning out what we do and calling us to meet. I am on the right. I didn't realize it until I began analyzing this photo, but my curled-up pose shows something about who I am. I am the shy one of the family. My blue and green shoelaces show that I removed the original shoelaces. I like showing subtle originality that doesn't bring too much attention to myself.

Advertising Analysis

The first notable message from this ad comes from the linguistic message. The text, ("I'm a PC. I'm a Mac.") is very simple and straightforward, and leads viewers to the understanding that the man on the left represents a PC, the man on the right represents a Mac. Our culture has grown up with computers becoming leading technology, which most people cannot live without. Most people who view this ad will know what a PC and Mac are. Most likely, younger generations do not know what PC stands for. To them, this has become, peecee, a word in and of itself without the implied acronym. It is also quite possible that the word Mac has lost its tie to its original name Macintosh to this generation as well.

The denoted images are: on the left, an older man wearing glasses, a suit, tie, and leather shoes. On the left, a younger man wearing a zip-up jacket, T-shirt, jeans, and canvas shoes.

The connoted messages derived from the denoted images can vary. The man on the left looks older. His glasses might give him the image of being wise or re-enforce the idea that he is old. His suit, tie, and leather shoes promote an image of a working man. His leather shoes and suit are perhaps expensive. The man on the right is wearing a zip up hooded jacket, T-shirt, and jeans that may be associated with younger people. Most professional offices will not allow this type of clothing on regular business days. The slip-on canvas shoes are a popular type of shoe for being a relatively inexpensive, "everyday" shoe that can come in a variety of colors and patterns. When put together with the text, the viewer can assume a PC is represents the old, outdated, old-fashioned, boring computer, while a Mac represents the new, fashionable, exciting, fun computer. These connoted messages can even represent the users of each computer. You wouldn't want to be caught using a PC, would you?
Last edited by Stephanie_V on Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:22 pm

Re: 2. Barthes Project

Post by arothstein » Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:43 pm

Barthes Analysis

Roland Barthes analyzes the strength of an image versus the power of words in conveying meaning through semiotics, the study of signs. His first concern is the idea of an original image as opposed to a representation. Every action is a signifier with a corresponding signified meaning. For example, a gesture (the container) can contain a variety of meanings (the signified). A copy of an image may or may not be simply a signifier. Barthes breaks down this idea further by searching for the birth of meaning, only to determine that every image sends a message and is a sign, whether or not its sign was placed there deliberately. These messages are broken down into three main groups: the linguistic meaning, the denotated image and the connotated image. The linguistic meaning is straightforward in that it is simply the interpretation of any language or text present. The denotated image is the subject matter of the image, the basic components of the composition. The connotated image is underlying message, tone or hidden meaning that one can infer from cultural understanding and analytic study of the denotated image.
In his analysis of the Panzani advertisement, Barthes illuminates several marketing ploys utilized by the company to sell its product. They convey the ideal of freshness through the unpacking of the grocery bag, the appeal of authenticity through the Italian colors, the advantage of having a complete meal by showing a variety of products, and the popular aesthetic of a still life.
Barthes argues that at a certain point, the breakdown of signs becomes obsolete. In the Panzani advertisement, the meanings are almost overdone. The tone of the advertisement and the individual images themselves indicate all signs previously listed without any symbolism or cultural understanding. His belief is that every image has a diversity of meanings. This characteristic makes them unstable and often requires text as a description. He calls this process “anchoring”, the attempt to steer the viewer toward one specific meaning. The reversal of this process, in which an image demonstrates one specific meaning of text, he calls “repression”. Barthes’ fascination with semiotics brings him to the question: Can an image have no connotated meaning? He believes that only a photograph has the ability to convey one specific meaning without any disagreement. He writes that the mechanics of the camera allow for a perfect objectivity from the marketing ploys outlined earlier.
Although the initial analysis of the Panzani advertisement divulged several signs and marketing techniques, Barthes argues that the company’s understanding of semiotics and the non-coded identity of the photograph allows them to deceive viewers into thinking the image is straightforward and simple.

Advertisement Analysis

The Dove Pro-Age campaign launched in 2009 put forth this image to promote their new line of products for older women. The text reads, “…too old to be in an anti-aging ad… but this isn’t anti-age, this is pro-age. A new line of skin and hair care from Dove, beauty has no age limit…” This is the linguistic message. If read completely objectively, the text suggests that the faithful people at Dove have created a new line of products that support the natural aging of women, as opposed to fighting it. The text also suggests that most anti-aging ads display much younger women, as opposed to the actual target market of women in their fifties and sixties. The denoted image is a woman with graying hair, in a hunched yet regal position, totally nude. She is tan, married and seemingly modest (strategically covering all inappropriate areas). The connotated image is much more complex. She looks happy and confident, sentiments not regularly expressed by women looking to anti-aging products for assistance. The advertisers at Dove hope to encourage women to buy their products because they love themselves, not because they hate themselves. They hope to be the company to put a positive spin on self-improvement and personal hygiene. The most obvious rebuttal to this advertisement is that these products are still supposed to hide the effects of natural aging, clearly making the statement somewhat hypocritical to begin with. Furthermore, this woman is exceptionally fit, with a pretty face and toned arms. She complies with most standards of beauty in modern culture.

Personal Photo Analysis

This photograph shows three girls walking down the street at night, all dressed similarly in black. While only one girl looks into the camera, the presence of the camera is heavily felt. The two girls on the left hold hands and the girl on the right is the photographer. There is no linguistic message and the denotated image is straightforward. The signified meaning is of interest because the presence of the camera is seemingly ignored. Only the photographer looks into the camera, the other two girls are smiling but looking away. The idea is to create a candid shot, one in which the subjects aren’t aware that the picture is being taken. Why create this farce when the picture is so clearly being taken? A cultural consensus that it’s cooler to be caught unawares, unprepared for the camera.
Personal Photo
Dove Pro-Age Campaign (2009)

Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:34 am

Re: 2. Barthes Project

Post by Manie06 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:50 am

Project I-The art of Semiotics
“Rhetoric of the Image” Analysis of Roland Barthes article

By focusing on a Panzani advertising image, Barthes divides meaning through the form of text, connotation, and denotation to then dissect each form and to further explain how complex and how deviously camouflaged the rhetoric of images can be. Barthes attributes each form of meaning to a corresponding level of interpretation, arriving at the conclusion that rhetoric in any image takes the form of Coded iconic message, Non-coded iconic message, and the linguistic message (if any is provided). Interpreting these messages is unique to each viewer for it requires a national, cultural and aesthetic knowledge that shapes the perception of each viewer. Each viewer then has a different interpretation in his or her decoding of the Panzani image. The image can be shown to a 5th grader and they might be able to decode the colors in the image and some of the basic elements such as physical content (tomatoes, red, cans). When I first attempted to decode the image I was unaware of the process, on the other hand, I quickly realized that the Panzani advertisement had an inferred meaning. It was not until I learned semiotics later that week (connotation, iconic, signifier, signified, denotation, coded and non-coded messages, etc.) that I was able to categorize each feature of the image and interpret the messages at a deeper level. Hence, since the ability to interpret a given image reflects the viewers knowledge at different levels, and such interpretation is based on the ability to use such knowledge in the decoding process, the value of appreciation of images whether artistic or not is dependent on education. Furthermore, if there is ever a disagreement on what art should be, this conflict is not of art versus not art, the conflict is based on knowledge required to decode messages from a given image. Through the decoding process and interpretation of images, viewers can innocently reveal the knowledge they possess. Art then can be used as a powerful influence in the current struggle of improving America’s education system.

Advertising Analysis

Taking the three types of messages that Barthes used to analyze the Pansani add and applying them to a World Wildlife Fund add is similarly unveiling. However, before continuing with this analysis a quick look at the relationship between the coded iconic, non-coded iconic, and linguistic message will facilitate the complete understanding of each message. Each message is dependent and influential on each other but the decoding of each message is completely dependent on the viewer’s knowledge and state of mind. Which message does the viewer perceive first? How does the viewer discriminate between each message? Can he perceive more than one message at the time?. The viewer’s state of mind at the moment of decoding the image affects the decoding process by highlighting certain aspects of the image and clouding others. Behind this highlighting and clouding process that happens at the moment the viewer decodes the image, there is a background of recent experiences that shape his/her state of mind. I will now look at two different images from my collection as examples before illustrating this effect on the WWF fund. As I browsed my computer for images to analyze, two images within my collection stood out. One is the image of a gorilla and the second is an image of Super Mario from the video game super Mario brothers. These two images had been my profile images on my social networks and so I wondered why I had chosen them. There was a connection beyond the aesthetics of the image that is personal and was in sync with my state of mind at a certain point in time. The photo of a gorilla is an alpha male silverback positioned in a thinking pose. During this time my primatology classes greatly influenced my state of mind and affected the decoding process of this image. The non-coded message unique to my perspective identified certain personal and immediate ideas about intelligence, ancestry, and evolution. The gorilla posing as he was, brought to the surface of my psyche a decoding process that allowed a personal connection to the primate. The other image of Super Mario is on my current profile image. Last summer I decided to spend a great amount of time with my father as an attempt to build a stronger father/son relationship. My father is a plumber and most of the summer I accompanied him to different construction sites and learned a great deal about plumbing. I also spend a lot of time playing video games. Both the plumbing and the video game experiences influenced my decoding process and since Super Mario is a video game character and he is also a plumber it is of no coincidence that he ended up as my profile image. Moving on to the WWF advertisement, it is evident that the coded and the non-coded image are dependent on the linguistic message. Without the text it might be possible to decode the messages but it will take longer than a glimpse, and since this is image is meant as an advertisement the absence of the linguistic message (the text) will render this image useless as an add. The text in the image aids the non-coded message in telling the viewer that purchasing exotic animal souvenirs will leave a trail of animal blood that will follow you home, and you will be contributing to the illegal hunting of animals. The connotation of the image is that of personal humiliation and embarrassment, it implies that everyone in the airport will be able to look at you as you walk with your luggage and you stain the squeaky-clean floor with animal blood dripping from the souvenirs you purchased. The coded image is that of a woman in an empty airport walking and dragging her luggage leaving a bloodline from her luggage. Her outfit hints to an African culture as well as her sandals, her neckalece, and her hairstyle. The cleanness of the airport accentuates the bloodline she is leaving behind and the emptiness suggests that she can be seen even is the middle of a crowd. If the linguistic message was absent in the image the interpretation can take on a variety of different manners.

Personal Image Analysis
This image is a photography taken by a friend during a game of risk. The connotation can be interpreted as board games bringing people together. Maybe if there was some linguistic message that read “Risk, see what your friends are capable of” to convert the image into advertising more implied meaning can be taken from it. The denotation of the image is simply a group of young people around a table playing a board game. The body language of each person reveals something about what is is going on in the game. The photo was taken as I invaded Europe and managed to do this with a relatively small army. Across from me my friends react in amazement at my luck while my sister and my other friend in the baby blue sweater plot possible moves in the heads. Non-coded message reveals collective fun, surprise, critical thinking, shock, and entertainment.

Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: 2. Barthes Project

Post by ariel » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:40 pm

Response to Barthes article
Roland Barthes article has three types of messages which are the linguistic message, the denoted image, and the coded image. The linguistic message is the literal message of an image. This is the text that goes along with most images to inform the viewer and direct them of the intended meaning of the image. The linguistic message has two types called the anchoring and relaying. The anchoring message is the denominative function and the relaying message is a fragment of dialogue. The denoted image is also known as the non coded image. The denoted image becomes objective and seen in an analogical nature. This is the literal image presented. The coded image is the icons in the image. Barthes says that within the coded images, “signs are drawn from a cultural code.” They are the connotation of the image with sub-codes.

This ad is for the world wildlife fund. The writing on it says, “You cant afford to be slow in an emergency. Act now for the planet.” The linguistic message is telling humans that the earth needs them to take care of it and each generation has to start getting involved in helping the planet rather than continuing to act as if the next generation can solve the problem and allowing more time to pass. The denoted image is that the ambulance takes its time getting to emergency where there has been a car crash. The coded image implies that humans have been sitting around and ignoring the problem of the earth rather than racing to fix the damages that they have caused the planet.


Personal image
In this image the only linguistic message is in the background that asks if you have ice cream. You can see that it is written in Hebrew which indicates that the image was taken in Israel. The denoted image is me out to lunch with my grandfather. By the background you can see that it was nice day which indicates the reason for eating outside. The coded image is able to explain my background. The writing which shows that we are in Israel shows that I have family who lives there and where my background comes from. From our pose you can see that we have a good relationship because we are leaning in towards each other and because his arm is around me.

Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:42 pm

Barthes Project

Post by RebeccaW » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:51 pm

In Roland Barthes ' analysis of a French Panzani advertisement he brings up some important issues when is comes to dissecting an image and understanding it's meaning. According to Barthes there are three messages that people have to consider to break down an image, a linguistic message; a coded iconic message; and a non coded iconic message. The linguistic message consists of the explanation accompanying the picture. In order to fully understand this explanation background cultural knowledge is required because it can be expressed in a caption, a title, or a film dialogue. The coded iconic message is the hidden message which is implied by the cultural references of the subjects and the colors in an image. In the Panzani advertisement on of the coded iconic messages is the shopping bag which implies that the ingredients inside of it are fresh. The non coded iconic message is the literal massage of the photograph that is derived without the help of the coded iconic message or the linguistic message. In the panzani advertisement the coded iconic message is that there are vegetables, noodles and caned tomato sauce falling out of a bag onto the counter.


http://www.smashingapps.com/wp-content/ ... ost-it.jpg

Post- it advertisement
The linguistic message in this advertisement is relatively simple. The only things that are written are "Jade" and "Post-it- For the little things you'll forget". What we get from just the linguistic message is that post-it is the product and it is used for things that people would normally forget. The non- coded iconic message in this advertisement is also fairly simple. There are two people in bed together, in the morning (you can tell because of the soft lighting in the room) and the woman has a post-it note one her head that says "Jade". Now in order to understand the message that the advertisement is trying to get across, both the coded iconic message and the linguistic message need to be used. Because of the cultural messages, that we as a society understand, we can infer that this is the morning after a one nighter. The post-it on the head of the woman tells us that the man couldn’t remember her name, which also means that this occurrence does not happen very often. Another thing that people could take from the coded iconic message is that the man cant remember her name because he has multiple partners and cant distinguish between them without the post-it note. But this explanation is not as likely because the woman would realize that there is a post-it note on her head and would be more suspicious if her boyfriend cant remember her name.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1 ... =708630298

Personal photo
There is not much of a linguistic message in this photo. The only thing that may count as a linguistic message are the signs in the background that say "Obama". The non coded iconic message it that thins is a picture of a girl (who is very excited) at some sort of rally or speech. The man talking is a middle age back man who is standing on a stage talking to a crowd at the Santa Barbara City College (if you can recognize that by the trees and the red roof in the background). The coded iconic message uses the "Obama" from the linguistic message and the time line to infer that this man is president Obama and this is a photo from the speech he made in Santa Barbara on September 8, 2007, before he was elected. This timeline and message also explain why the girl in this photo is so damn excited, because this is FREAKIN' OBAMA.
claire and obama.jpg
Last edited by RebeccaW on Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:20 am

Re: 2. Barthes Project

Post by gclassen » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:51 pm

Response to the Barthes Article
The Barthes Article talks about three types of messages that are present in advertisement images, the first being linguistic. It's usually a text message and blends in with the natural arrangement of lines. The message guides the viewer to understand what the substance of the image is trying to accomplish. The second message is the actual things being shown or the denotated message. It's what visually remains if we mentally erase the connotation, and by including this aspect of the image it makes it appear innocent. The third is the connotated message which display objects for the purpose to remind the viewer of something else, and give off positive emotions that will influence a buyer's decision. In Barthes for example, he talks about the pepper and tomato that give off the impression of freshness and the Italian culture.

Personal Image:

For my personal image, I chose a picture my roommate took a few weekends ago. The denotation in the picture is myself and another one of my roommates getting very excited because of an explosion in one of the three cups of beer. What is implied, the connotation, is that we are playing a drinking game and that we have accomplished some sort of feat. To explain the game shortly, two teams of two (me and my roommate shown are partners) throw a die the height of the roof and try to bounce it in between the other teams two cups. This scores points, and if you make an opponents cup, it scores the most points possible in the game. The coded message suggests that my teammate and I were responsible for the incredible toss, but what actually happened was that another player, to the right of the cameraman, threw the die into his own teammates cup. Paired with perfect timing, the botched toss contributed to a fairly humorous picture that could be misunderstood without an explanation.


I chose an Old Spice Bodywash ad for my main analysis. Old Spice often has funny ad's and for the most part they're pretty successful in getting their point across. In this one, it depicts a bar of soap with what looks to be numerous pubic hairs on it. This serves as the denotation, or what is shown. The connotation, what is implied, leads the viewer to think that bars of soap are out of date and for the most part fairly gross. Due to the pubic hairs, Old Spice evokes an emotion in the viewer. The linguistic message, the text at the bottom, suggests an alternative to the bar, bodywash, and therefore eradicates the possibility of seeing this disgusting sight when you enter your shower. Tied with a positive emotion of the bodywash, and an negative one with the soap bar, a viewer could carry those feelings with them the next time they go shop and this makes the advertisement successful.

Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:02 pm

Re: Barthes Project

Post by Sarah » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:20 pm

As endless words stream together under the title " Rhetoric of the Image" I find myself overwhelmed with the amount of information passed onto me. The most important of the information is that of the three messages; Linguistic (textual), Denotative (literal), and Connotative (symbolic) of the image. These are the three important categories to be discussed when analyzing any image seen or created in any society. But why is this important? I have decided that the reason any person would need to know these three things is so they can be not only more aware of the world around them, but more aware of how their being plays into the world, such as their gender, weight, height, the colors they wear, the things they say and so on.
Although Barthes didn't explain WHY these are important to know, he understood HOW they exist in the images us humans lay our eyes on everyday. Linguistic's are on the surface of almost every advertisement displayed, telling us what we need, why we need it and what the message will do for us. The textual aspect of the image however, is only a grain of sand when comparing importance of meaning of an image. The connotative aspect of any image, which always starts out as denotative, is the most important aspect of images produced today. The connotative is "a normal system whose signs are drawn from a cultural code", meaning that a viewer will see the composition of an object in an image and not only understand what is the visual aspect of the image but will then take information compiled from years of being alive on this earth, and create a meaning for the image.
These three messages are very important to an analytical response to the images around us, but there is one more thing Barthes writes that sparks an interest. Barthes writes, "we never-encounter a literal image in the pure state; even if an entirely "naive" image were to be achieved, it would immediately join the sign of naivete and be completed by a third, symbolic message." This is a loud statement, one I believe is absolutely true. In our nature, as human beings, we gather information on a daily basis and after 20-60 years it is nearly impossible to neglect information, therefore when someone looks at an image they attach meaning in every way possible unconsciously from there former vault of knowledge, leaving Barthes statement to hold a great deal of truth.


The Image: A white pretty woman with duck tape over her mouth, and NO H8 written on her cheek, holding up and American flag. Simple enough right? This is the straight forward explanation of the denotative or non-coded image. It is a mere description of what the image has to offer, the basic collective of colors and forms.
The Linguistic and Connotative image: On the cheek of this girl there is black and red writing. It is split into two lines, one on top of the other. The top line reads NO in black, whereas the bottom line reads H8 the H in black and the 8 in red. Again, this is a simple description of the text of the image. Where the image gets complicated is when we bring the connotation, or the symbolism of the image into the mix.
Lets start our analytical conversation with the more common aspects of the photo. We see a white girl in her mid to late 20's with brown long hair and green striking eyes, who would generally be considered a good looking woman. The facts represented here are fairly straight forward, it is what is placed upon her that is interesting. The young woman has duck tape on her mouth which, is a symbol globally known to mean the silencing or containing of someone's thoughts, voice, and ideals. It raises the obvious question, why does this seemingly well off woman have duck tape over her mouth?
This leads the viewer to the writing on her cheek. By means of the english language, the words NO make sense but H8 does not. This is where a human beings cultural know how comes into play which allows them to understand that H8 is a clever way of saying hate, making the saying NO HATE. If we look further however, we notice that the 8 is red while the other letters are black, telling us that the 8 is to be noticed on its own as well as a part of the group. There is also something to say about the color being red as opposed to blue or yellow; red is a very alarming, intense color that means passion, death, politics.
This now leads us to what the message means, especially the politics aspect. If you follow politics in any capacity, even by barely listening to the news, or hearing hot topics from friends, family or random strangers in the line of a grocery store, then you will most likely understand the meaning of the text. It means NO on 8, the proposition that would abolish the right for Gays and Lesbians to marry. This image now represents a historically political debate on same sex marriage, from the 3 letters and 1 number put together.
Whats even more is the American flag she is holding up. The flag alone carries hundreds of connotations, negative and positive, in this case it is both. By having knowledge of what the flag means, we think of what it is to be an American, and one word always comes to mind for people all over the world, Freedom. This woman is now telling the viewer that America has always been known for the freedom it allows its citizens to enjoy, but is also reminding people that if it allows freedom to so many, why doesn't that mean freedom for homosexuals?
This image has gone from a non-coded image to a strongly coded political image within moments of the eye focusing on the photograph. This is clearly the point that Barthes was trying to get across to the viewers.


The image: A kitchen with two young women hugging, surrounded by happy, interested onlookers.
The Linguistic and Connotative image: This image is clearly taken at a community event for friends, creating a warm and inviting aesthetic. It lures the viewer in, making the viewer search the photograph for reasoning for the situation. The soda cans, and numerous cups on the counters signify a party in addition to the many people crowded in a kitchen. The first thing the viewer notices is the two women hugging, the main focus of the image. The face of the girl facing the camera gives a tell tale sign of extreme happiness and excitement which then leads the viewer to believe that it is because she has not seen the other woman for quite some time, as if it is a reunion of sorts.
The eye then goes to the people surrounding the women, and the expression on their faces. They all have big smiles which represent joy, not only for themselves but for the women they are looking at that are showing happiness. In culture we find that we not only perceive happiness for ourselves but for other people as well, which we see int his photograph. The viewer might decide that this means that the people involved know these two girls and are happy for their long awaited reunion.
The last place the eye falls is on the girl closest to the camera on the left that is taking a picture of the hugging. This further's the implication of the women having a highly intense moment of joy from their reunion. The reality of the photograph is that I was best friends with this girl in that particular crowd and had not seen her in nearly a year, and I did not tell her I was coming to the party, so a reunion it was indeed, just not as intense as it seems.
Last edited by Sarah on Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply