Month: January 2014




Believe it or not, this ad is one that is intended to sell perfume.  According to Barthes, there are three ways to examine an image.  The first is linguistics.  Surprisingly, in this advertisement, there is nothing written in text to indicate to the viewer that the desired outcome is for you to purchase a bottle of perfume.  The only words that are on the page are the name of the perfume, Taylor Swift, and “the beginning of something magical.”  The viewer sees (the denoted image) a purple bottle that is obviously out of proportion to the ad, a woman (Taylor Swift) in a ball gown, and a forest that somehow has chandlers hanging from trees.   Both the denoted and linguistic images deeply contribute to our understanding of the connoted image.  In this ad, perfume is not the only thing being sold.  Instead, the advertiser is attempting to sell the viewer a lifestyle.  The life that is promised in this ad is one of magic and enchantment.  As absurd as it sounds, viewers are supposed to believe that if they purchase this perfume, they will be like pop sensation icon Taylor Swift and live a fairytale life.  The quote enhances this idea simply telling the viewer what they will get if they purchase this bottle.  Delving deeper into this, the life of a princess is one that is filled with men constantly attempting to get your attention, beautiful clothes, and a beautiful appearance which could all be “acquired” if you simply buy the perfume. 

After all, we know that buying a bottle of perfume won’t make you a princess, won’t make you fall in love, or won’t make women fall out of the sky (Axe).  Yet, for some reason this has become the main method of selling viewers on perfume.  Personally, if I see an unbelievably good looking couple on a stunning beach, I know exactly what the ad is selling, because naturally, those things all lead to perfume.  


Kanye West By: Borbay

Kanye West  By: Borbay

This painting of Kanye West caught my eye for many different reasons. Some may call Kanye an iconic figure, or over the years some may have become truly disgusted with his actions. Either way one looks at it, hands down Kanye is a part of our visual culture, no matter how one depicts him. While first looking at this picture I got intrigued by the black glasses and if one looks very closely his red eyes. Kanye is not represented in this painting as your classic rapper. Instead he has a suit on that looks clean and has a nice sophisticated look. Next one cannot help but to realize the linguistic message with all the words in the background. Standing out to me was pulse, killer, abominable, groupies, psycho, monster, fear, just to name a few. We see this lightness around his face and then to the corners of the painting getting darker, the color of black. The intended function of this image could be to say what Kanye West is not , or possibly to portray this double meaning of him. The target on our right side looking at the picture but his left seems to me like a bullet target. Is someone out to get him? Or is he being constantly watched? I feel as if Mirzoeff would look at this as a political tactic, where Kanye is the target. This image is certainly a tool for the powerful, even Kanye looks powerful. However, the people as Mirzoeff mentions had to instill some of these concepts to give the painter this idea. I choose this picture and found it on google. I wanted a controversial topic in our culture today and I felt the words and color truly spoke out to this image.

Powerful Yogurt Advertisement

Powerful Yogurt Advertisement

This is an advertisement for Powerful Yogurt, a dairy product designed specifically for men.

I’ll begin with the text found in this ad: “Find your inner abs.” This text functions as a call-to-action for, as well as a challenge to, consumers — male consumers. This text demands that men find their “inner” physical strength, which promotes ideologies concerning what it means to be “masculine” (i.e. physical strength, physical fitness).

Pictured in this ad, consumers see (to the left) an enlarged cup of Powerful Yogurt, which overlays a number of grey rays, meant to draw attention to the product. The packaging itself, as well as the text beneath the product, is presented in bold, masculine colors. It is also worth noting that the logo for Powerful Yogurt is a bull’s head (a symbol of masculinity and masculine strength). To the right, the ad contains a close-up of a man’s defined abdominal muscles; this man is, supposedly, a consumer, just like the potential consumers viewing this ad, as implied by his wearing blue jeans. In the same frame is an open container of Powerful Yogurt and spoonful of Powerful Yogurt, which overtly communicate the man’s consumption of the product. The layering of the yogurt with the man’s abs draws a direct correlation for consumers between the yogurt and the man’s appearance, between a product and its “effects.”

This advertisement, however, goes further than just telling male consumers that they should eat this yogurt in order to look like this man because every man should look this man. This advertisement — and the fact that a product such as this was even developed — feminizes regular yogurt and communicates to male consumers that they need and deserve a better, tougher-looking yogurt that will meet their dietary and physical fitness needs (which regular yogurt could never hope to do). This product effectively associates regular yogurt with emasculation and further perpetuates the ideologies surrounding gender identities and gender performances.

– Jen


The image I selected is from burton snowboarding, I saw this add on the television when I was watching the winter X games. And I felt that it would make a good example for visual culture. This commercial add was during the winter season when everyone is snow boarding. I liked how it had the rider floating through the air effortlessly with the burton logo underneath giving you the linguistic aspect of the add. It also has the landscape behind the rider letting you capture the feel of the setting and giving you the feeling that you were there with the rider as he was sailing through the air. Basically saying if you ride burton you can be like the rider. The fact that there is the burton logo only and no words the red letter B lets the audience know what the picture is about. Basically saying that if you want to be good at snowboarding and ride in amazing places ride Burton. The Url link of the Picture is posted below




This is an ad for Tiffany & Co. I first saw this ad in a catalog that was sent to my house, and I think it makes a good example for visual culture. This is an ad from the holiday season, so the purpose for this ad is to get women to ask for gifts from Tiffany’s for the holidays. I think it did its purpose because once people see what is inside, they will want to see the jewelry in person.  The main reason I chose this image is because I thought it was interesting that there were no linguistics, which is an idea from Barthes. This image is literally just a man and a woman, in love, walking with New York City in the background, which is the denoted image. They look very elegant, but what stands out is the blue box. There are no words that are needed to tell the audience that this is an ad for Tiffany’s because that blue box is known in our culture. The connoted image is that if you give a loved one this blue box, you will be as radiant and in love as this couple. I think this ad really gets the point of visual culture because if it were in a different part of the world, the people might never even think the blue box meant something. That one little detail is what helps the audience make sense of what the ad is. 

Blog 1

For this first blog, I used the links provided which lead me to the New York Times blog on photography. I was scrolling through and found the picture here: . For some reason it wouldn’t let me save it, sorry!

When I first looked at the picture, it reminded me of the George Washington picture we looked at in class; someone in the water who looks of importance and trying to accomplish something. It also looks freezing there as there as the man is standing on ice, even though there is not much other ice surrounding him; just dark clouds and snowed over mountains. I wondered how he was able to reach that small ice burg and his posture and stick he is holding comes across as if it is significant that he is on top of the only small piece of ice in the main piece of the picture. The title of the photograph on the site is “Where the Ice, and the Population, is Thinning.” I continued to read the few paragraphs underneath only to find out that this is a 64 year old man who is standing on an ice floe in northern Greenland. It mentions that the photographs are impressive but “not nearly as captivating to him as the people whose daily routines have been affected by rising temperatures and tides”…“Climate change is merely in the background”. After reading this, I realized that although this is a great photograph with great images, the underlying message or real photograph is making us realize that there are only one or two pieces of ice out there because of global warming. It isn’t about the man in the picture, rather all the people who have to deal with these drastic changes. I think this picture emphasizes that we really need to look beyond the picture to understand the full meaning and take in all the clues the picture presents.

Contemporary Art


When I read the prompt for what we needed to post I decided to look up some contemporary art on Google. I thought about which ones really intrigued me and interested me.  This photo here really caught my attention because of the darkness and personal struggle it shows. A personal function is shown through the deepness of the image. It seems as though the man sitting down can not get rid of something.  There is an over casting shadow of some one or something always there. I feel that the artist of this photo was trying to portray a personal connection to anything.  For me being new to art I liked the personal feeling you got from this photo because I am trying to find my personal connection to art.  This is a 100 level course so for most of us art is a new thing to try and finding a personal connection will take some time and deep thought sort of like this photo.  This photo can relate to Roland Barthes idea of the “rhetoric of a image”.  You can find the connoted message and the denoted message. You can say the denoted message (literal) is that the man is just sitting there looking at his shadow thinking. The connoted message (symbolic) is he is thinking.  Thinking of more then there is a shadow there.