Media organizations must communicate information successfully in order for them to be a first choice by the public. And it can be concluded that communication process is vital for people to understand phenomenon and organise themselves mentally. An effective analysis of media sources requires a person to look at the overall frame in order to comprehensively understand the idea that is presented. The details in a picture gives away the hints which make the object amusing to solve because there are reasons for every details in the picture which people tend to carry on as it motivates and interests them.Semiotics is regarded as a successful technique for the analysis of media sources.
Oxford Dictionary defines Semiotics as “the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation”. A very well known semiotic called Roland Barthes provided better definition of semiotics by giving realistic examples: ‘semiology aims to take in any system of signs, whatever their substance and limits; images, gestures, musical sounds, objects, and the complex associations of all of these, which form the content of ritual, convention or public entertainment: these constitute, if not languages, at least systems of signification’. (Barthes 1967, 9)However a Swiss linguist called to Ferdinand de Sassure (1857-1913) has worked on signs and has ultimately concluded that signs can be divided into two elements which are; For example some people may explain what they see differently from others because it varies between people and circumstances. One sign could refer to more than one thing in life, for example: the word ‘Cow’ could refer to beef, farming, sacred cow, milk and many more.This states that relationship of the signifier and the signified is arbitrary which strongly relies on social and cultural conventions. Another example is the color “red” represents danger to majority of people.
As a result this color is chosen to take role in traffic regulations which warns drivers to ‘stop’ at traffic lights. And in relation to this green colour is the best choice for the ‘go’ light. It can be said that we are living in a world of semiotics as everything we see is a sign.Furthermore there are codes in Semiotics which explains the link between the two elements of signs, the signifier and the signified. “The rules governing the selection and combination of elements are known as codes”(J.
D.Johansen& S.V.Larsen 2002, 7)The three codes are: Denotation – is the obvious thought that is evoked from the sign. Erwin Panofsky, visual image historian described it as “the denotation of a representational visual image is what all viewers from any culture and at any time would recognize the image as depicting” (Panofsky 1970a, 51-3).
However children’s and mentally disabled people are excluded from his quote as they would not have the true potential to analyse images.Connotation- is basically the thought that is assumed around the sign. Interpreter’s socio-cultural factors such as ethnicity, class age and etc. have massive contributing factor to the analysis of a visual image. Connotations are more expressive than denotation because it’s open ended analysis. Myth and ideology- is very similar to connotation but it considers the thought of society/environment that sign brings into play. “Like metaphors, myths help us to make sense of our experiences within a culture” (Lakoff ; Johnson 1980, 185-6)For example media uses many pictures that influence the public.
An image of a famous celebrity will realistically explain the effectiveness of the three codes. First of all at the denotative level this is a picture of an American singer Britney Spears. The connotative code of this image is the beauty, sexuality, wealth, drug use and personal struggles. The myth/ideological codes bring Hollywood and family life into consideration. Hollywood is not only the universal metaphor for ambition, success and a dream place but also a long lasting nightmare for a celeb because it’s the main attention of media which ruins their personal life.Kevin Carter (1961-1994) was a famous photojournalist who has won the Pulitzer Price and News picture of the year in1993 after taking a photo of a vulture waiting patiently for the death of an unconscious African toddler. The picture was taken when the black Sudanese toddler was on her way to United Nations food camp which was located only kilometre away. Kevin Carter was a free-lance photographer for ‘Reuter’ and ‘Sygma Photo NY’.
The photo he took ultimately made the world weep but his suicide was another tragedy that shocked everyone. There have been so many rumours of his suicide, but no evidence had been found to support their claim. In semiotics lives of the artists influence how an individual see their picture and in this example Kevin Carter’s life is seen as dramatic in the course of poverty.