Semiotics are a way to communicate messages through images. They are used for the purpose of being shared with an audience and creating a critical thought process within the audience’s minds. They are shared through the medium of the internet for the furthest reach to viewers, in order to get the message attempting to be conveyed, across to as many people using the internet as possible. Images are often layered with semiotics. In some instances this may be purposefully subtle, whereas in others, the image practically shouts its message to some viewers. One image may even mean something different to everyone who views it, depending on how each viewer interprets it.
The complex image I have chosen to acknowledge in this post is one of which I grasped the message straight away. This image shows a typical ‘poor‘ man and ‘rich‘ man side by side. The ‘poor’ man is carrying a sack full of what I assume to be his belongings, whereas the ‘rich’ man is strutting along looking proud, with his belly huge to show his wealth through food.
The most significant message that comes across to me with one look at this image relates to the hyperbole of a typical ‘rich’ man’s belly being equal to the size of a ‘poor’ man’s total belongings. It shows how people more fortunate with wealth, take that for granted. It shows that there are people living with poverty in this world, and also people who could care less, and instead bask in their own wealth without any worries.
Looking at this image briefly, that is the way I interpret it. Though by closer evaluation, there is seen to be further semiotics and an ever deeper meaning to this photo. With more depth in analysis I have noticed that race may have a part in this image. The ‘poor’ man I have now realised is black in colour, whereas the ‘rich’ man is white, creating speculation that the illustrator of this image has attempted to convey white privilege within their art. Is this message intended? As it is more subtle than the other meaning of the image, it is hard to tell, though it regardless has a powerful impact on viewers who study this image as I have.
When I see this image, these issues within society regarding poverty and the age old issue of white privilege become more prominent in my mind, hence so does the fact that I’m not actively doing anything about it. What can I do to end poverty all over the world? What more can I do to assist my beliefs (and the pure fact) that every race is equal; not one race better than another? These are the questions created through the use of the semiotics within this image. These are the questions of which the illustrator has tried to plant into viewers minds- if I have analysed and interpreted it as it was meant to be.
Feature image VIA Pinterest