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Visual & Performing Arts
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Semiotic interpretation of an image (Essay Sample)


prompt: Interpret an image that is give to you according to the concepts of denotative and connotative signification.(I will e-mail an image as an additional materials to you.) A thesis could be how i interpret an image in semiotic concepts with the evidences. Please make a thesis very very clearly and specifically!!(And a thesis should be on the first paragraph.) You should read the readings, which i will e-mail as additional materials, and this paper should be related with the readings. And here is some helpful strategies: Use your page space in full to make your denotative and connotative interpretations in ways that show us you understand the concept. You do NOT need sentences like “Denotation means [rewording of textbook definition].” Use the terms in a way that shows up you know what it means. Do not repeat or rephrase definitions of terms. Also my professor emphasize \'You are advised to be careful not to make the connotative analysis highly subjective because that may lead you to assume the reader shares your interpretation without you having to describe and explain it. The point is not to defend what you feel the image to mean, but to analyze through evidence what the image is likely to mean in its implied cultural context.\' And please describe an image when give the evidence about a thesis!! Describe is very important so that professor to know what i see so that professor can understand what i mean. cut from cu\'s email: On attachment, there are an image that writer write about on paper, and reading materials #1 and #2. And this is the caption of the image: A Japanese family returns home to find their garage vandalized with graffiti and broken windows in Seattle, on May 10, 1945. AP Photo. Also these two links is the readings that writer should read. Please make sure to writer that the paper should be about the image that i attached! And also please make sure to read all of these readings and the caption of the image.


Semiotic interpretation of an Image
Student’s Name
Semiotic interpretation of an Image
Images are often points of references because each of the images has unique meaning. As such, people derive meanings from the images by referring to the denotative and connotative meanings borne by the images or objects (Marita, & Lisa, 2009). Denotative and connotative meanings are associative meaning based on the relationship between the signifier and the signified (Chandler 2013a; Chandler, 2013b). In any case, the “signifier” of an image is the form which the sign assumes while the “signified” often represent the concept that the image symbolizes. As such, the denotative meaning of an image is the literal or plain meaning (chandler, 2013a). One gets the meaning from an image by analyzing the relationship between its denotative (literal) signified and connotative (implied) signified. This paper explores a semiotic interpretation of an image according to the concepts of denotative and connotative significance.
The denotative meaning in the 1945 photo is a representation of the Japanese family members standing outside a home. One would see that the family had decided to camp outside because some unknown people had vandalized and torched their garage. For instance, the woman was peeping through the window to see what remained of their car or any other valuable in the garage. This is because the literal meaning of the writings on their garage was that the author of the graffiti wanted Japanese out. This is because the lexicon “Japs” was a shortened version for Japanese (Barthes, & Heath, 1977). As such, the plain message in the photo is of a Japanese family standing outside their house because they found it unsafe to enter it.
It further justifies the fact that the family is standing outside the vandalized structure because they are shocked at what had just happened. The predicament is reflected in the woman and the young girl’s faces. Nonetheless, the man seemed happy because his family was safe and that they had just arrived after the incident had taken place. This is because the man was the only family member smiling at the photographer. He was also tightly holding onto his baby boy, which is an indication that he loved his family and cared about their safety and wellbeing. The young girl and young boy were looking at the photographer as they tried to understand what he/she was doing.
Connotatively, the image elicits subjective meaning. First, it is evident that the picture has additional symbolic meaning. In this case, the signifier is the phrase “No Japs Wanted” which indicates some xenophobia towards the Japanese. This is because the phrase appears more than once on the damaged property. The double appearance of the words “No Japs Wanted” on one side of the garage suggest that those who made the graffiti left the scene in a hurry. This is because the statement is grammatically wrong because the sentence should have been “We/I don’t want Japanese around.” In addition, the space between the letters is uneven. This suggests that the person did the painting in a hurry because there was little attention to enhancing the fineness of the graffiti. Besides that, the person who came up with the graffiti was using spray paint and the presence of ink outside the painting body of the words would support the notion that the individual was in a hurry to leave the scene. This may prompt a speculation that the individuals were rounding torching a Japanese neighborhood and had many houses and structures to vandalize.
Setting aside the linguistic message, remains with the image alone. The presence of the Japanese-only family outside a vandalized structure suggests that the community felt threatened. This is because the development shook the emotions of the little girl and her mother as one can see on their faces. Nonetheless, the man in the picture was smiling at the time the journalist took this photo. However, the man was still wearing his office regalia, which suggest that he feared entering his house. As such, one would expect the man in the picture to put on a brave face because the safety of the family was in hi arms.
Another connotative signifier in the image is the father holding the baby. This has a syntagmatic effect on the interpretation of the image. Culturally, Japanese fathers are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that they offer security and protect their families. Under normal circumstances, one would expect the Japanese mother to carry the baby. However, the family in the photo was under unknown threat from an anti-Japanese crusader. As Such, the father took on the responsibility of carrying the baby to ensure that the family was safe and secure from the intruders. The family also stood by him. The sadness of his wife and daughter contrasted with his smiling implies that the family relied on their father for upkeep. This is a reflection of the significance of a father figure within the family. It also supports the fact that Japanese culture valued men because the society was purely patriarchal.
One may also derive another connotative meaning from the historical context of the photograph. According to Marita, & Lisa (2009), people also derive meaning from images by associating them with their historical contexts particularly to reflect various historical either in the life of an individual or the community at large. In this case one would be able to appreciate what the photo image stands for by positioning the American hatred for Japanese in history. This is because the relationship between the Americans and the Japanese is currently warm. Nonetheless, the Americans and the Japanese were rivals during the early 1940s owing to Japanese bombing of the Pearl Harbor in 1941. Anyone who has studied the history the US and Japan despite not having been born during the Second World War would position the image to the WW II. As such, one would be able to appreciate how the American nationals were expressing their displeasure with the presents of Japanese in their country. This is because the statement “No Japs Wanted” came from an American who did not want to see any Japanese around. The garage was further destroyed to pass information to the Japanese that they were not welcome in the United Sta...
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