Magazine Image Analysis

Monday, 27 October 2014

Last week in our seminar we looked at the analysis of magazines and, in particular, the images within them. The method we used to do so was developed by Roland Barthes, based on the theories of semiotic analysis. Instead of analysing and 'reading' an image immediately, a semiotic analysis consciously slows down this process to work out not only what the image signifies, but also how it has its meaning. To do this you firstly look at the image and note any words or phrases which spring to mind, then decipher what kind of visual it is. You then thoroughly list the elements of the image and then what each of these elements connote. Finally, you take your analysis further by finding out as much as possible about the image by posing questions. 

Image 1:
My initial thoughts regarding this image were; feminine, retro, vintage and nostalgic. 

The image itself is a photo from the November 2014 issue of Vogue from an editorial fashion spread.

The elements within the image are; a complex and busy background with a singular poised model in the foreground, a feminine/vintage aesthetic, a bedroom setup with a vanity and old-fashioned furnishings, make-up left on top of the vanity and a red and pink ensemble worn by the model. 

The connotations of these elements are; the old-fashioned furniture suggests a parent's house, perhaps during the 1980s which also connotes nostalgia, the vanity with make-up left out suggests the model is getting ready for a formal occasion, her poised and unnatural pose mimics a photo a parent might take before prom. This idea of prom night is also emphasised in the singular model, perhaps waiting for a date, and also in her formal attire, co-ordinating accessories and debutante-esque hairstyle. The pink and glitter, evident within the model's outfit, connote a sugary-sweet, youthful and hyper feminine feel. This is juxtaposed by the red of the skirt which makes the ensemble feel far more modern, and perhaps a slight suggestion of maturation.  

The fashion spread itself is entitled 'Halcyon Days' and was shot by Venetia Scott and styled by Bay Garnett. Scott's other work also feels very nostalgic, with most of the styling and set-up being very 'era based' with an almost 'vintage filter effect' to all her work, this being no exception. The initial idea for the shoot was "a snapshot of teenagers playing in the gardens outside Chatsworth House," as Garnett comments, which gave them the title Halcyon Days. This year's Autumn/Winter collections suggested a similar sense of "purposeful timelessness" to the stylist who comments, "I loved the image, and set myself the challenge to illustrate long skirts, typical to the scene in an out-of-the-ordinary way." 

Image 2: 

My initial thoughts with this image were; simple, mysterious, enchanting and fairytale-like.

The image is a Dior advertisement which was featured in the November 2014 issue of V magazine.

The elements within the image are; a wall of ivy, gravel path, red coat, black bag and boots, single model disappearing into the ivy in the foreground and a an architectural statue within the background.

The connotations of these elements are; the red coat connotes Little Red Riding Hood, the model disappearing into the ivy suggests escapism into a secret world or a 'secret garden' which mimics Alice in Wonderland connoting a certain whimsicalness, the architectural statue and gravel path connotes an ornateness, suggesting the image is set in a manor house within France, the red and black and simple silhouette of the outfit suggest modernity which juxtaposes with the romantic and ethereal setting, culminating in what can be described as a modern fairytale.    

The image itself is part of Dior's Autumn/Winter 2014 campaign entitled 'Secret Garden' and is part of a collection of advertisements and short films. The image was shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matador in Versailles, both responsible for shooting and filming the campaign, which explains the almost cinematic nature of the image. The trio of models used throughout the entire campaign are said to evoke The Three Graces - goddesses of antiquity embodying beauty, charm and joy, who inspired masterpieces by Raphael and Botticelli. Throughout the campaign, the use of greenery within the chateau gardens emphasise and draw attention the rich colours of the Dior pre-fall collection.

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