Semiology Analysis.

1816 words - 7 pages

"At one level there are no photographs which can be denied. All photographs have the status of fact. What has to be examined is in what way photography can and cannot give meaning to facts." (Bazalgette, 1991, p.8)There are three main parts to the structure of semiotics; the sign, what it refers to, and the people who use it. There are many different varieties of sign and ways of relating to people and communicating meaning. The conveyance of messages takes place through the development and use of codes, the form and existence that these take depends on the society and culture within which they operate. (Fiske 1990, p.40).There is often a distinction made between meanings; a connotative signified and a denotative signified. The term denotation is used in conjunction with the most obvious, straight-forward interpretation of the sign. However, signs will often have connotations, these meanings which come from within our own culture and society. These can sometimes be recognised consciously, but at other times are only apparent when we look for them. For example in many instances the use of a female model in advertisements is a sign which carries connotations such as youth, slimness, health etc. When a sign carries positive connotations like these, it can also work as the signifier of the mythic feminine beauty. This notion originates from society's stereotypical views of the attributes, or positive myths, a woman should possess in order to be deemed sexually desirable.Myth can also affect how a sign is read as it can make it function as a signifier on another level (Bignall 1997 p.16). Myth is often used in conjunction with existing signs and their connotations in order to give them an additional meaning, often in a particular social role. Advertising copywriters use the visual and linguistic signs which they believe support the mythic meanings of a particular product. Both these types of sign are used in order to generate messages about a product and the people who use it. In this way advertisements aim to attach particular mythic meanings and implications to certain products by using already-meaningful signs. Thus advertisements have the ability to bestow upon different products particular social significances in such a way that they then function in society as signs connoting the purchaser's good taste, street credibility etc. In short, advertisements serve to signify something about their consumers."The technique of advertising is to correlate feelings, moods or attributes to tangible objets, linking possible unattainable things with those that are attainable, and thus reassuring us that the former are within reach". (Williamson 1978, p.31). Hence the advertisement not only sells the reader the product, but also a future image of ourselves as more desirable, happier etc. Through the process of being advertised a product becomes a representation of everything the reader desires to become. "What the advertisement clearly does is thus to signify,...

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