In the Rhetoric of Image essay Roland Barthes’ analyzes image as an illustration or a representation of something. He also analyzes how meanings are associated with specific images. How does Barthes examines the images? How does an image reproduces any meaning if you are just seeing it and there is no description?
Barthes said that the message in an advertising image is pre-conceived and is therefore graspable, meaning that it contains a purpose. Barthes gives an advertisement example of Panzani, in which he looks at the different messages it could contain. The advertisement displays a slightly opened string bag, falling from which packets of pasta noodles, tomatoes, and more. The advertisement generates a linguistic message characterized by the words and texts that are scattered throughout the ad. The iconic message is displayed by the pure image, a series of signifiers pertaining to an intended signified. Barthes contradicts the previous article of linguistics which says that a signified is the meaning or idea expressed by a sign, while a signifier is a sign’s physical form. In this case it is going the opposite images trying to portrait a message that is not written on the ad, there are signifieds trying to portray a signifier. So, in this part I got confuse, What he is trying to convey and mean by saying that signifiers are pertaining to an intended signified, when I see the opposite signifieds trying to portrait signifiers? Also, Do images go beyond illustrating texts?
He also discusses the nature of photography as a form of representation. Barthes said that it creates a new space-time category: spacial immediacy and temporal anteriority offering an illogical conjunction between the here-now and there-then. How does photographs create space and time and does it involve any meaning?
Overall, this essay tries to show us how images on advertisement act by involving a meaning that can be in specific words or just by seeing images that will produce a meaning.