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The “Denotation” and “Connotation” of Image/Graphic Analysis

Analysis of an Image/Graphic.
Explanation of Denotation and Connotation.
Reliability, Utility (usefulness)
Has examples. Easily followed.
Step by step analysis.

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The “Denotation” and “Connotation” of Image/Graphic Analysis

  1. 1. The “Denotation” and “Connotation” of Image/Graphic Analysis
  2. 2. “Denotation & Connotation” in language analysis Words are not limited to ONE SINGLE MEANING; most have more than one. These more that one ‘MEANINGS’ are categorised as either DENOTATIVE or CONNOTATIVE. DENOTATION • Refers to the ‘literal meaning’ of the word; i.e. the DICTIONARY MEANING. • It is the ‘explicit definition’ as listed in the dictionary. CONNOTATION • Refers to the ‘associations’ or the ‘emotional suggestions’ that are CONNECTED to a certain word. • The ‘association’ or ‘set of associations’ that a word usually brings to mind. Example: HOME DENOTATIVE MEANING A place where one lives; a residence. CONNOTATIVE MEANING A place of security comfort and family. Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ says: “There is no place like home.” – she is not referring to the DENOTATION but to the CONNOTATION of the word ‘HOME’; in other words the EMOTIONS that ‘HOME’ evokes for her.
  3. 3. “Denotation & Connotation” in image/graphic analysis Images/graphics are not limited to ONE SINGLE EMOTION or PERSPECTIVE; most have more than one of each. These more that one ‘EMOTIONS or PERSPECTIVES’ are categorised as either DENOTATIVE or CONNOTATIVE. DENOTATION = Reality (of the image/graphic) • Refers to ‘What does one see in the image/graphic presented to him/her?’ • The ‘translation’ of light, line, shape, form – ‘denote’ REALITY. CONNOTATION = Emotion/understanding (of the image/graphic) • Refers to ‘How one is affected by what the image/graphic suggests?’ • The ‘emotion/response’ evoked when one views the image/graphic is the CONNOTATIVE MEANING.
  4. 4. “Denotation & Connotation” in image/graphic analysis What can you see? • People? • Objects? Describe… • Appearance? • Expressions? What… • Are they doing? • Aren’t they doing? Setting… • Can we tell? • Can we assume? What questions come to mind? • Where are they? • When are they? • Who are they? • What is their life like? • Education? • Status in community? Denotation: What can’t you see? • Authority? • Parents? What … • Should they be doing? REMEMBER: An image/graphic REVEALS to us what ‘its creator’ wants us TO SEE. But, WHAT an image/graphic DOESN’T REVEAL to us can be more REVEALING and TELLING and the actual MESSAGE the creator is trying to get across.
  5. 5. “Denotation & Connotation” in image/graphic analysis Connotation: • What ‘emotion’ is evoked in you when looking at the photograph? • Is it an advertisement ? • Are the ‘boys’ in a gang? • Are they homeless? • What do you want to do with these boys? Maybe… • Teach them a lesson? • Preach to them the ills of smoking? • Take those ‘caps’ off? • Change their dress sense? • Did the photographer just want to photograph ‘3 boys’? • Was there something more that he wanted to say? • What ‘emotions’ is he trying to evoke?
  6. 6. “Denotation & Connotation” in image/graphic analysis “Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch” (1910) Photographer: Lewis Hines Background reading on Lewis Hines and this photograph. Newspaper Article on Lewis Hines Newspaper Article: Lewis and his Work (2013) Photo Analysis of the Photograph Photo Analysis of "Newsies at Skeeter's Branch“ Connotation vs Denotation in terms of this photograph Connotation vs Denotation (plus visual)
  7. 7. “Denotation & Connotation” in image/graphic analysis “Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch” (1910) Photographer: Lewis Hines • Lewis Hine's photographs for the National Child Labour Committee helped bring in laws protecting youngsters . • He toured America to capture children at work in fields, mines, factories or making a living on the streets. He is most famous for his stunning images of men working hundreds of feet up on the Empire State Building. But photographer Lewis Hine's real legacy is the collection of pictures he took of children in factories, fields and sweatshops, which highlighted the appalling conditions they were made to work in at the beginning of the 20th Century. The images, taken for the National Child Labour Committee, shamed America and helped change the laws surrounding child workers.” By Becky Evans “The photos that changed America's child labour laws: Harrowing images of children as young as three forced to do back-breaking work in fields, factories and mines.
  8. 8. What is the message? Title: ‘Nightmare Waiting List’ Cartoonist: David Low September, 1938
  9. 9. What do you see? • The German Flag. • The Swastika. • Hitler in full uniform. • Hitler seems to be standing on the world. • Hitler striking a pose. • Hitler holding a paper/poster saying: “THE - All Germans everywhere are mine. - IDEA” • Behind Hitler is a row of ‘grim reapers’ holding placards. • All placards have the word ‘CRISIS’. • Stating a few: POLISH GERMANS CRISIS, BRITISH EMPIRE GERMANS CRISIS etc. Title: ‘Nightmare Waiting List’ Cartoonist: David Low September, 1938
  10. 10. Format, Origin, Title & Date - if known - Title: ‘Nightmare Waiting List’ Cartoonist: David Low September, 1938 FORMAT: • Cartoon ORIGIN: • Cartoonist: David Low TITLE: • ‘Nightmare Waiting List’ DATE: • September, 1938
  11. 11. Denotation & Connotation - What do you see? – How is the audience affected? - DENOTATIVE MEANING CONNOTATIVE MEANING HITLER in full uniform striking a pose. HITLER is being aggressive. Striking fear in us. HITLER in full uniform striking a pose. HITLER holding a paper/poster “THE - ALL GERMANS EVERYWHERE ARE MINE - IDEA”. Behind HITLER is a line of ‘grim reapers’ with placards stating crisis in countries all over the world. HITLER holding a paper/poster: “THE – ALL GERMANS EVERYWHERE ARE MINE – IDEA”. HITLER has the idea to rule Germans wherever in the world they live. He maybe using this excuse to ‘conquer’ the world. “Grim Reapers” holding placards expressing CRISIS and Germans are everywhere. ‘Grim Reapers’ represent DEATH. The DEATH that Nazism can bring. Death to what we believe in.
  12. 12. What is the message? Title: ‘Nightmare Waiting List’ Cartoonist: David Low September, 1938 The bulk of people in Czechoslovakia were Czechs or Slovaks. The Sudeten Germans did not like being the minority group and wanted to be in a German speaking nation. In 1931 a Sudeten German Party was formed. This party had one main aim: to bring the region under the control of Germany. It organised protests and gained a lot of support from Sudeten Germans. Once Hitler was elected, he funded the party and it grew in size and strength. … As a consequence of the heightened tension international diplomacy ensued with Neville Chamberlain leading the negotiations with Hitler, which culminated in the Munich Agreement which ceded Sudetenland to Germany. Click here for source It is September 1938 – The Sudetenland Crisis. Sudetenland was a region that was ethnically German. Prior to the first world war the region had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Peace Settlements placed the region within the newly created state of Czechoslovakia.
  13. 13. Reliability & Utility (Usefulness) - Keep these in mind- What is meant by RELIABIITY and UTILITY? • RELIABILITY This is asking whether the source can be TRUSTED. • UTILITY This is asking whether the source is USEFUL – what value it has. • RELIABILITY can be brought into UTILITY (Useful). The reliability of a source is important in making a judgment on its UTILITY (Usefulness). However, UTILITY is not part of RELIABILITY.
  14. 14. Reliability & Utility (Usefulness) - Keep these in mind- Note: • BIAS is an element that all sources contain; whether ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ • NO SOURCE is ever completely ‘reliable’ or ‘unreliable’. • A SOURCE may NOT be very ‘reliable’ but it can be very ‘useful’. • A SOURCE can BE very ‘useful’ in telling the viewer about ‘values and attitudes’ of the time. Make an OVERVIEW of the image/graphic as a RELIABLE SOURCE 1. WHO created the image/graphic? 2. WHEN and WHERE was it created? 3. WHY was it created? - message/audience 4. Is the source BIASED (does it present a one - sided perspective)? i. Note - the more biased the source the less reliable it may be. ii. Give examples (ideas, images, text) from the source; objects/people seen and unseen. 5. In your judgment what is the overall reliability of the source.
  15. 15. Reliability & Utility (Usefulness) - Keep these in mind- Make an OVERVIEW of the image/graphic as a USEFUL SOURCE 1. What are the USES (strengths) of this source? In other words – What can the source tell us about ‘the values and attitudes’ of the time? 2. What are the PROBLEMS (limitations) in using this source? 3. What other sources would you like to access to check the trustworthiness of this source? 4. How might our own beliefs and knowledge affect the way we interpret the source? 5. How does the language used in the source provide information about its usefulness? – informative/advertisement/tone 6. Make a judgment – rate the usefulness of the source and explain this judgment? Will you be using this source in your research?
  16. 16. “Bibliography – Resources – Webography” • ABOUT.COM - Grammar and Composition • Cartoon: Nightmare Waiting List • The Sudetenland Crisis - 1938 • University of Fu Jen University Department of English Language and Literature • The Writing Centre - University of Ottowa Assembled: A. Ballas