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Word Count: 2,282
The Impacts of Images Photographic Languages It has been said that words make us think and pictures make us feel Every photograph is a means of communication in that a message is delivered from the photographer to observers The purpose of such message is to tell in visual form something that the photographer feels worth communicating Picture is a visual language that communicates feelings and imaginations In order to understand photographic language the photographer and the audience should have some cultural beliefs and artistic sensibilities in common This paper argues that photograph as a medium of communication provides the viewer an emotional impact which is produced by various photographic techniques It takes an understanding of semiotics--the study of signs--to discover how every image is a complex collection of symbols with distinctive meaning depending on the culture of the viewer According to the semiotic approach photographs can be considered a signifier presenting a connotative meaning As Graeme Turner explains it the definitions of signifiers and signified are as follows The signifier is the physical form of the sign the image word or photograph The signified is the mental concept referred to Together they form the sign 55 When applying this theory on photographs the picture of snow is the signifier its formation a mental concept of snow and winter day is the signified In addition the colour blue in a picture of snow is the signifier--it signifies a sensation of chilliness Moreover a sign is developed into two levels the denotative and connotative meaning As Malcolm Barnard believes Denotation is sometimes called a first order of signification or meaning It is the literal meaning of a word or image the common-sense obvious meanings 84 Particularly in the field of photographic art the denotation in a picture is the surface image in other words what we can experience visually Theoretically a denotative meaning is straightforward and unchangeable It is considered as a signifier which implies
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