If Images Could Talk…

If images could talk what do you think they would say? Would they tell you the real message that’s behind their frame or only what you want to hear? Is it possible that all the images that we have been looking at over our lifetime could have been lying to us? Is there a deeper message than what meets the eye or is it a lot simpler than that?

Okay question overload, am I right or am I right? You’re probably thinking hey hey slow down, and explain!

Let’s start with an ideology, a system of ideas and ideals.But let’s look at it in a different light; let’s make ideologies the way in which we imagine the world to be, basically what do we immediately think when we see something.

Now we have to put that into the everyday images we see, but that’s always easier said than done. We seem to let conventions dictate over connotation, letting signsjust stay as what they are. For instance, what if the toilet signs were based on the way you were dressed that day, meaning that was the direction you were going to go in?

I think that would be more problematic for women more than men!


But let’s take this even deeper, what if we were to look at the denotations and connotations of an image?

Screen shot 2012-05-06 at 19.50.04

Let’s start with the denotations, what we can see at first glance. We see a woman most likely in her late 20’s gazing off to the side, there’s a foundation bottle to the right of her face and the background is fairly simple with few accents of colour of red and orange. The text present is scattered on and around her face.

Now for the connotations, what the image means. There are many ways to view this image, with convention this image tells us it’s a way to hide our imperfections and make us feel better about ourselves through the use of a high coverage foundation. But when we strip away the conventions I personally see a woman being made to feel like she is not good enough in the eyes of other people and is therefore being forced to hide her wisdom that shows through the signs of aging. To me this is another way to oppress women in telling them how they are meant to look for others to appreciate them. It gives off a negative notion to what beauty stands for. The words “The Eraser” enhances the notion that woman cannot possibly look pretty if they are natural.

And in 1, 2, 3…there we have it, a connection to the effects model and how the media can hold a significant factor in the dishonesty of body image.

But tell me this, what do you see when you look at an image? Let me know down in the comments if you find that convention is taking over connotation.

Until next time, this has been Captain Kirk.


Turnbull, S, 2015,’BCM110’ Lecture 3, Media Mythbusting: The Image Cannot Lie, University of Wollongong, delivered March 17 2015

Image one, Toilet sign, <http://www.directsigns.co.uk/toilets–gents–ladies-symbol-arrow-left_ds9438.aspx&gt>

Image two, Maybelline print advert, <http://artimagesfrom.com/famous-controversial-ads/&gt>


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