Image Analysis

Image Analysis



Image Analysis

Question 1

            Art and cinematography can be used to communicate messages as well as meanings of various depictions through signs. The photography by Barat Ali Batoor shows a condition of struggle by the characters in what seems like immigration, smuggling, or escape (Daily Telegraph, 2013). The photograph contains different types of personifications by the eight characters in it. The natural element of a vice is shown through the characterization and art form of the photograph’s delivery. The actual activity is embodied by the water vessel in the background. The partly hidden male character and adjacent man in shorts seem contrasting to the two men at the foreground. The latter pair, through their mode of addressing and position on the vessel appears as officials. Finally, the four men at the lower part of the vessel are responsible for suspicious signs due to the facial expressions and material cover over their heads.

            The complexity of signs used in identifying the message communicated can be used to show how the photograph achieves this. The representation choice in photography by Barat Ali Batoor enables understanding of the signs communicated. For example, the look on the four men’s faces after the wooden strips are stripped off the base of the water vessel is a communication of an illegal activity in place. The photographer also communicates through the complex arrangement of humans under the given material of the vessel while freedom expressed above it shows the contrast. Ideological content of photography and artwork is further illustrated with the choice selection in attires. The contrast also is responsible for communicating the kind of struggle that the four men at the base are undergoing while on the water vessel.

            Through semiotics, it is possible to generate the reason why art is communicated through signs as means of showing a hidden message. According to Barnet (2008), the semiotics is further proof of the undertaken method of showing hidden messages as a success or failure. In the photography by Barat Ali Batoor, the photograph succeeds in communication of the illegal activity by the choice of attitude and emotion through the characters. The clear emotions shown by the four main victims at the base of the vessel include somberness, agony, and desperation. The communicated nature of the experience is shown by the faces of the four characters while the delivery of the sea at the back depicts desperation and illegal circumstances. In addition, the attitude shown in the photograph succeeds in communicating natural contrasts. Humans should be transported where visible unlike goods as shown in the base of the vessel.

Question 2

            Representation through art facilitates interpretation in order for the images to be read as text. Representation therefore can take varied forms such as constructive and discursive. The depiction is through portrayal or imagination whereas symbolization describes a likened form of the actual communicated message. In the photograph by Dina Litovsky, contrasting representation is made from the two sets of characters (Litovsky, 2012). On the left side, a male character seated side to side by a two females, appear happy and fascinated by the gadget at hand, which is a camera. On the right side, a female character appears dejected on her own. Through the discursive dimension, the communicated analysis shows that the solo character on the right is dejected while the characters on the left are more of a unit. In addition, the separation distance between the two sets of characters shows an intentional approach of symbolizing the differences in people’s attitudes and behaviors. On one hand, there are bubbly people who like to be happy and express it, despite the circumstances. On the other hand, solitude is also a feature of other people in similar setting. Probably, the latter is more of the constructive dimension of representation in which the communicated dejection is processed by the facial expression and position occupied.

            Constructionist approach by Saussure is important for the analysis of the photograph by Dina Litovsky. In the approach, language use is vital in delivery of images in photography for understanding. They speak of the used sounds, paintings, written words, images as functions of communicated ideas. In the photograph, the appearance of wine glasses, couches, and lighting depict the presence of an entertainment setting. The manner of dressing by the characters also shows an enhanced outlook of outgoing nature. The activity shown is also symbolic of passing time, especially by the three characters to the left. According to Saussure, the culture is then communicated by the representation approach depicted on images or photographs (Hall, Evans, and Nixon, 2013). In this context, the culture of the characters shown points to an outgoing society with civilized manner of entertainment. The dressing choice also supports the liberal manner of lifestyles by the culture in context. Similarly, the diversity of the culture allows for close association and dejection of the solitude members within it as represented by the female character on the right side. The social part of the representation shows communication and close association while dejection is not welcome. The semiotic influence succeeds in the delivery of communicated representation of the photograph. 


Barnet, S. (2008). A short guide to writing about art. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson.

Daily Telegraph. (October 13, 2013). Barat Ali Batoor’s photo of asylum seekers wins inaugural Walkley Awards Photo of the Year. Daily Telegraph, 1.

Hall, S., Evans, J., & Nixon, S. (2013). Representation. London: SAGE.

Litovsky, D. (2012). MFA Photography 2012. SVA Close UP, 1. 

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