Exercise – Image and text

I did find some overlap in this exercise with EYV – Terry Barrett essay discussed here.  I have worked up this exercise in my sketchbook as all the photographs are currently within copyright and therefore cannot be included on a public blog without permission.

A reader will contextualise an image depending on the adjacent text. Images can be presented supporting a completely different viewpoint to the one that they may have been intended for. The reader has a lot of power here too, the number of possible meanings is limited only by the viewer’s understanding and belief that a caption, and associated photograph, is credible.

This allows me to see how important anchor text is in particular situations, such as advertisements or instructions for examples. I’m also curious about images that rarely include text but still carry a clear message – Ikea assembly instructions for example (though these do carry item codes).

I did feel uneasy about this exercise. Not just about the copyright issues on Getty images, but at the idea of recontextualising news stories that are already pretty unbelievable and not necessarily in a good way. Sunday’s paper gave me the “not-a-coup” in Zimbabwe, sexualised teenage selfies, redacted lists of those women who have alleged harassment and assault against Harvey Weinstein, and the increased use of food banks by people in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out.  That said, I find the area of context fascinating and very helpful in crafting my own work so I have found it very useful to investigate the concepts of “anchor” and “relay” text via Barthes.

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