The Way an Individual Interprets an Image Essay

The Way an Individual Interprets an Image, 500 words essay example

Essay Topic: image

"A picture is worth a thousand words" however, today it will be worth five hundred. American graffiti artist, Banksy is infamous for his highly controversial, however often truthful and powerful images, challenging societal and political problems.
As exemplified in his artwork (pictured) it is up for the audience's own interpretation to decode the message Banksy is portraying. With no words, and just an image, it is through the study of semiotics that we are able to differentiate between the denotation and connotation of this image.
Ferdinand de Saussure was a linguist and a semiotician who founded significant developments in semiology and linguistics. Along with Charles Peirce who was dubbed "the father of pragmatism" (the evaluation of theories and events in terms of their practical use) their mythologies and studies shaped the way we interpret and creating meaning for images.
Denotations are the visible and obvious signs of the image. In this artwork by Banksy the audience is able to see a young boy who is crying. In his right hand there is the image of a mobile phone, thus incorporating the use of technology. Above him the notification symbol for social media network 'Instagram' appears.
The connotation is the meaning of this denotation, the hidden message of this image. What can be interpreted is that this young child is craving attention and has not received it due to him not receiving 'Instagram' notifications. This can furthermore introduce the idea of how dependent contemporary society is upon social media, leading to the media and its effects. The importance of social media in today's society and amongst the Generation Y can also be represented by the bright orange of the notifications contrasting to the dull grey and blue background.
The effects of social media have created social and personality effects amongst its users. It has been acknowledged that people feel more confident online than in person, due to non-face to face interaction and being able to hide behind a screen. However, those who use social media tend to worry about the amount of followers or likes they gain.
The analysis of this image can only be interpreted due to one's individual context- thus varying connotations of this image. Personally, I am a user of Instagram, thus allowing me to identify the Instagram notification symbol. I am also part of Generation Y and a media student, and can understand the effects of the media and the importance of it in my life. Due to my own societal context I can easily identify the effects Generation Y has consequentially been adorned to. If a non-Instagram user was to view this post, they may not acknowledge the notification symbol, however with the image of the child holding a phone it still grasps the concept that technology is having a negative impact.
The way an individual interprets an image greatly depends on their own personal context, thus allowing for differing interpretations of an image, in turn leading to altering messages the artist is trying to portray.

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