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The Rhetoric Of The Image Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2259 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Roland Barthes essay The Rhetoric of the Image is a typical model of a semiotic study of an want ad. He argues, an image which, illustrates from symbols that are shaped with a outlook to the best possible way to read it, and which therefore is more blunt and plain in the information it expresses. Barthes wishes to use this simplicity to move toward a clearer start of how the icon and its linguistic followers construct meaning. He turns to a specific advertised picture, which is a net grocery bag on a desk. Its substances are vegetables and a box of pasta presenting its brand name. This icon is intended to urge us to buy the pasta and it effortlessly tries to do this by signifying need that will provoke desire. He shows it by representing it into three parts, linguistic message, coded iconic message, and the non-coded iconic message.

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The linguistic message is the Italian name that comes into view on the package of the pasta. It drives on two levels, denotation, indicating in a straight view point to the name of the company, and connotation, signifying Italian city. The coded iconic messages are connoted by the image itself. The way the yellow, green, and the red comes together of a still life visual. The non-coded iconic message is simply the plain, what is it? The photograph shows the netted sack, with its contents vegetables and pasta.

The main problem when going through the text was a issue about to what degree the come within reach of to the analysis of images expands to non advertising images. Advertising images have risen to convey specific meanings and specific messages. Bathes’ way of approaching was to take out how this works, but what about other genres? For example, film might have no proposed connotations linked with the creator, but might come together a lexicon within a viewer that creates a very precise meaning, not deliberate by the creator. Does this matter? Related questions occur with respect to commercial adverts. Are the creators of industrial ads merely with denotation?

Once genre of advertising in the there is clear in purposely of meaning at work, is publicity for bands. They are clearly created to convey specific messages to the consumers and typically trying to get their meaning to the customers.

In comparison to The Rhetoric of the Image, I am going to use the Chanel Coco Mademoiselle with Keira Knightley as an example of how semiotic analysis might throw light and show how it illustrates the subversive nature how either male or female gender is represented in contemporary British culture. A subversive nature is a state of mind, resist sense of show. It’s a way for young people to feel empowered and have a voice on their own. So… what are we talking about here? T shirts, fashion etc. Appealed with vintage style fabrics each design carries a unique message that is delivered by them using their own things like perfume, style, beauty etc to be themselves.

“Rhetoric of the Image” essentially trying to do is to observe and understand the messages that images include, and the degree to take part in creating an ideological worldview. “Rhetoric of the Image” centres on announcements in view of the fact that they hold a very compressed image that intends to make the most of its effectiveness in shifting its message. Commercials contain their messages across in minutes therefore make use of well inspiring and serious images in order to persuade us to buy this product. Consequently, commercials are a very handy intermediate in which to explore the way ideologies are imitated in visual images. Commercials need to be able to converse in a conservative language, bring into play predictable terminology and transmit its message very fast. The ad for Coco Mademoiselle perfume is made by the Chanel Company. This ad campaign objective is to market to the teens in addition to a new product to the Chanel Company’s world famous No. 5 fragrance. It is advertised as a less expensive Perfume,

The linguistic messages is, a denoted message which involves the caption of Keira Knightley jump on a motorbike, seduce a photographer and drive off into the sunset, and the connoted message is Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle fragrance. The signs are found from the non-linguistic part of the advert to represent the figurative message. Coco Chanel is a secrecy, courageous and mutiny at the empathy of her appeal. It comes across as a more urban feel, with Knightley come into view on the boulevard of Paris in a stylish, light brown motorbike jumpsuit. The message is Knightley is portrayed naked wearing a pearl necklace and is deliberately sheltered from a black bowler hat whilst wearing a white dress shirt. The large sign of the Coco Mademoiselle perfume bottle is significantly marked in the foreground. The Chanel logo is white on the top right hand corner. The words “Coco Mademoiselle” are in black to the left of Knightley. On the advert is “shop chanel.com” in small type, lower right hand corner. The background has a “black and white” theme. The perfume symbolizes the ever growing character of Coco Chanel in its femininity, arousing, youthful and exciting aroma. Gowns with roll neck and exposed arms let her skeletal glory show to much discomfort and to thin inspiration for teens.

In “Rhetoric of the Image” Barthes works along the lines of two theoretical characteristics, connotation and denotation, and the internal relations of the sign between the signifier and the signified. The signified, has two level of meaning, the denotation is the dictionary meaning of the sign/word and it detonates something in the real world. The connotation is the interpretative association that comes with the sign and is something which is culturally and context dependant. For Barthes connotation is a higher level of interpretation, and he assumes that being a part of the same culture involves having similar connotations to certain signs.

We can’t really remove the associations of an image and this considers a purely factual, signified image. Barthes calls the ‘first degree of intelligibility’, the aim on which we see more than femininity. This would be a meaning with no code and significant, Barthe recognizes photography as the only intermediate with this trait. Drawing, for example, relies on all sorts of rules and what he calls ‘rule governed transpositions’, which basically make up a code that can be represented as the group to be one that could afford such a cost. The denoted image in the overall image is structure and meaning. It is accepting the representative message following and symbolizing the connoted rudiments, making them above suspicion. 

The connotations of the image is connoted multiple meanings, depends on the viewer. The meaning is constructed, with the signs contained in the image. Barthes refers it within a person, as his or her idiolect.

Separating the connoted signifiers is the common domain in ideology, which seems strange until one check with a dictionary and finds a definition of ideology as a “systematic body of concepts”. Barthes calls the signifiers the connotations. This brings about the connotations within an image are all elements that can be used to connote signifiers. The connotations are the phrases, meaning the style of the image is elements employed as signifiers. He expresses that not all the visual elements are connotations so there always remain purely denoted within the frame.

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In Addition using concepts in Barthes “Rhetoric of the Image” the visual point of the commercial is all that we see and the audio level is everything that we hear while watching the commercial. The effects of the commercial take action together to produce the audio and visual level. The audio level attaches the visual level showing us where to look and what we should focus our interest.

Barthes gives the impression that the pasta brand is imported from Italy to France. The commercial is in Italian in spite of the piece of information that it is intended at the French customers. Barthes grasps that the detail that the viewer cannot comprehend what the things are spoken does not stand in the way of uniting Italian with quality pasta. The rhetoric, the reiteration of images in commercials, is strong-minded unifying to Barthes sum of meanings abandoned through the signs which create the code, putting them together into a logical statement, ideology with the image. Barthes clings to the replicating images in the commercial stand for messages which are already a code for ideologically determined meanings. In conclusion, in “Rhetoric of the Image” Roland Barthes is in disagreement that “natural” reality is not fundamentally encrypted or encoded but rather that it is its replica as a visual image that codes it and puts into effect cultural meaning. Visual means are superficial as described realism while in fact they are creating it. 

LYNX 2012 – Happy End of the World are post modernists. They believe bringing more beauty into an ugly world has no value, whereas reflecting the ugliness and trying to rectify it does. They have interests in escapism and ecstasy. Their quote “Happy End of the World” is convincing on its own retro terms. In other words it’s about clinging to your sense of total possibility and sense of waste. They believe there’s more to unattractive than beauty, its cultural corruption. The advert sees a youthful male structuring a boat in getting ready for the end of the world, but it is a crowd of beautiful women who join him aboard, not two of every animal.

I have chosen this advertisement because the advert deals with themes including gender, sex, nudity, beauty, attraction and desirability. The image is ironic because it shows Misandry, taken from the Greek, misos meaning to hate, and andras for men, hatred to men. Its showing oppressing fat unfit men is considered ugly, and men are expected to be attractive for women.

The target viewers for the Lynx 2012 final edition are single young men and which immediately leaves out elder men and men in relationships. The product is a men’s deodorant and the institution and organisation that made the product is LYNX. The advert is not following a cause or promoting a social issue. It’s showing beauty in the smell and using it on deformities and expressions. It expresses beauty by understanding art and social theory. It would seem to me, it has many different roles in social life. Pleasure is one of its goals, the joy of considering beauty. Exploring the nature of beauty and what comes to call beauty is another of the adverts roles. This is the point at which LYNX understood that accountability enables the other to see beauty in different, non-normative ways. Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle fragrance strategy is to show aware of the many different perspectives of both beauty and woman.

Compared to LYNX 2012, you can see in the advert, the women is drawn to him. They both used a mild, soft yellow, white and brown to create the shadowing. The position of these models are in, highlights their body and their attraction. Chanel has captured the woman from below whilst LYNX has taken it in a completely different subject by displaying the man on an ark, with him standing tall, shirt undone, making the stomach chest, the main view point, while he sprays the deodorant on his body.

Both LYNX and Chanel accentuate their flesh by not only the light tones but also what they are wearing or not wearing, and their body language. LYNX has captured the guy wearing a white shirt that is undone, showing his stomach. Chanel’s piece, as she is lying on the bed, using the bed sheet as a toga. She’s acting all sexy for the photographer.

Advertising subcultures have responded to postmodern civilization has implicated an expedition for realism and self-government from the societies manufactures, therefore in total rejecting the existing culture of media, image, and hyper commercialism. Whereas the first response to post modernity appropriates signs, symbols, and style for the purposes of shock and semiotic disruption, and insulate beauty from the superficiality of postmodern culture. Consumers and fans are in search of realism, they establish local institutions of alternative media outside the culture industry while moving celebrity production above fashion and appearance as the only sincere basis of creative expression. Within beauty, the process of creating free media and interpersonal networks in resistance to the communal media is referred to as the do it yourself ethic. While both variations of sub cultural practice is evident throughout the history of the advertising. It is more effective or politically progressive than the other, empowering possibilities and regressive boundaries within each response to the condition of post modernity. The culture has allowed some celebrity performers to enact dramatic refusals and parodies of power, periodically capturing the media spotlight and inspiring further acts of defiance among the young and disaffected. But these gestures of resistance have typically proven to be as brief and temporary as postmodern culture at large. Moreover, adverts spirit of negation lacks a utopian counterpart.


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