This week I spent some time looking at different ways of interpreting adverts, and deciding whether I agreed with the maker’s intention, or whether it had the opposite or compromised effect. We can label these as ‘dominant’, ‘oppositional’ and ‘negotiated’ readings. On the forum I posted an example of each of these (in my opinion).
I had a couple of peer responses to my dominant reading of this advert:
I find this image of the carrot eye catching and beautiful in its simplicity. Orange against a white background is striking, and the text explains exactly what it’s advertising. The carrot punctum is the signifier. It signifies green living / ugly as a positive rather than a negative / conscientious living. Additionally, we know this to be true and is something that everyone can identify with.
The responses I received were in agreement with my reading, and referenced the use of text. A helpful quote was included:
“The caption permits me to focus not only on my gaze, but also my understanding”(Barthes: Image, Music, Text 1977, P39)
This advert, posted by a peer again as a dominant reading, makes me feel a little uncomfortable. The way the hands are hooked onto the hand rail remind me of a butcher’s shop. I’m sure this is intentional, the strap line ‘whose hand are you holding?’ makes the viewer question what we see / what we don’t know. Whatever the intention of the picture was, the viewer will remember the product. Barthes (1977) talked about the unity of an image (or in our case, photo) lying with the reader (viewer) rather than its creator.