Barthes believes that in mass communication, linguistic messages are in fact omnipresent. It buried into images, such as captions attached to illustrations, subtitles on films, dialogues in short films, etc., writing and speaking continue to dominate the functioning of information structures. For the connection between images and verbal messages, Barthes proposed two concepts, anchorage, and relay.
Because of the polysemy of symbols, the multiple and constantly changing meanings are often hidden under the same signifier. Therefore, if the language information is not “marked”, the meaning of the image will be difficult to establish. In order to overcome the uncertainty of the symbol, The language was used as a tool to identify, interpret, and stabilize the meaning of the image. Roland Barthes called this function “anchorage”. The language helps readers identify the explicit meaning of the image. (Denotation), at the same time limit the hidden meaning of the image (connotation), and even try to package the implicit meaning of the image into self-explanatory meaning.
As a means of reproduction, images do not objectively and fairly reflect the real world. Their meaning has yet to be further stabilized, decoded, and interpreted. Images can also be regarded as the perspective of the photographer to understand the world. When analyzing an image, it is necessary for the viewers to consider both the social and cultural context of the photographer and the context in which the image is applied, so as to understand the cultural meaning and hidden ideology symbolized by the image itself.