Semiotics in Photography.


Task: Answer these questions on semiotics based on this photograph by Anastasia Rudenko and the photo of David Cameron.

Image 1.


Identify the main signifiers in this image.

Looking at this image I immediately look at the large colourful painting on the wall, also just below it looking at the youths in army gear.

What do they signify?

The painting is a huge signifier in the image. The bright colours juxtapose the dark greens of the army uniforms and so does the tone and feeling of the  painting. The Painting has many connotations such as fantasy, magical, dream land as all of the pastel and bright colours that could portray this. The painting could be purposefully placed in the room as it has elements of hope, it could possibly be the equilibrium that the soldiers are fighting for.

The soldiers signify unity and discipline. The bald heads signify that they are all united and aren’t alone, they all show conformity. The clear green army uniforms also indicate many signifieds in itself as you associate war, discipline, terror and youth. I associate youth with the army as I know a lot of young people my age who are in the army as we are at the essential recruitment age. The plain expressions on their faces could also signify that they are all in a specific mindset, they are in the middle of a serious briefing or are just downtrodden missing home and exhausted.

What does the signifier and it’s signified form?

I think that the formation of the fantasy and equilibrium of the painting shows the harsh life of the army as it shows the painting juxtaposing the emotions and body language of the soldiers form a harsh reality and a very powerful image.

What codes are you using to interpret the signifiers in this image?

Firstly i examine the social codes within the signifiers of the image whilst observing the soldiers. The body language, the behaviour of the soldiers and obviously the fashion codes e.g them being in a uniform. Textual codes are also used whilst interpreting the signifiers as you have to look at the painting.

Image 2. 

semiotics 2

Identify the signifiers in this image.

The most notable signifier in this image due to his status is the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Another signifier is the run down, vandalised background and possibly the sweeping brush he is carrying.

What do they signify?

Well the fact that David Cameron is the Prime Minister, he signifies the Conservative Party. Their ideologies are stereo-typically not focused around the working class. The fact that David Cameron (A politician who went to Eton) is doing manual labour is a huge signifier. This could be a representation of how David Cameron wants to ‘clean up britain’ and this is probably a campaign image.The run down location is a huge signifier and could signify a huge juxtaposition between the Prime Minister and what he’s actually doing.

What does the signifier and signified form when combined?

I think that the signifiers and signified both form a powerful juxtaposition as the social status of David  Cameron and then the complete flip to the run down, vandalised background location shows such a powerful message that David Cameron is portraying.

What codes are you using to interpret the signifiers in the image?

The codes i’d use to interpret this image would be social as you’d look at the body language and behaviour of David Cameron. Also fashion codes as David Cameron is wearing a suit whilst cleaning up rubble and mess which could be comical as he is so out of place anybody would know not to wear a suit when doing manual labour.


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