Seminar 4: Denotation and Connotation.


Part one: Denotation: what is depicted (message)


  1. What is the denotation of the image (the literal/depicted content)? Give plenty of detail:


A man has fallen on the floor and lost his bag, whilst a man holding a hammer stands over him. Many onlookers are watching the seen unfold, including a man pushing a trolly, a man in a suit and a cyclist has turned round. There are steps to the right and a large group waits at the top of them. There is also a large build up of traffic around the scene, mainly cars but in the background is also a bus.


Part two: Connotation: The meaning of the image (code)

What is the cognitive connotation? (factual elements of the work)

Photo journalistic shot.

Are there any forms of photographic connotation at work?

There is the pose of the man on the floor who is spread eagled, as though he has been knocked down. This adds drama and movement into the shot. There are the poses of the bystanders, many of whom are craning to get a look at the incident, those closest to it have looks of shock not their faces.

Objects are evident in terms of bags, hammers, cars, trolly bikes.

Aestheticism is evident, there are leading lines from the rails, and the man on the floor is on the lower third line, and also lying on the diagonal. It is a busy shot, due to the scene not because the photographer has placed to many elements into it.

There may be some cropping but difficult to know.

Photogenia terms it has been shot on colour film with ambient lighting.

There is no syntax.

Is there a linguistic message? (text/caption)


What is the ideological/ethical connotation? (What Barthes calls ‘Myth’)

I think there are many plausible stories here, but I feel that the myth is the photographer attempting to make it look like perhaps a mugging, with the man holding a hammer as a weapon, though in reality I am not sure this is what has happened.

Part one: Denotation: what is depicted (message)

  1. What is the denotation of the image (the literal/depicted content)? Give plenty of detail:


A black and white photograph of a young girl wearing a tee shirt and shorts looks into the camera . Next to her on the a young couple kiss in a doorway, the boy facing away from camera the girl looking into the lens whilst holding a cigarette. A sign behind them reads Tortilla Factory.

Part two: Connotation: The meaning of the image (code)

What is the cognitive connotation? (factual elements of the work)

Street photograph

Are there any forms of photographic connotation at work?

Pose: Girl has her shoulders turned slightly looking straight into the camera. Other couple are kissing. A shot that looks as though Winograd has taken them by surprise.

Objects: Cloths, shop front, cigarettes and signs.

Aestheticism: it is typical of a street shot, but this is what appeal to me. There are diagonals and vanishing points in the shot to lead you through the frame. The negative space on the right helps to balance the busy left hand side of the photograph.

Trick Effects:N/A

Syntax: N/A

Is there a linguistic message? (text/caption)


What is the ideological/ethical connotation? (What Barthes calls ‘Myth’)

This image says hey what are you looking at. The young girl is tagging along attempting to keep herself interested as her sister walks round the streets with her boyfriend. I think winogrand is trying to show an unruly nature to the place he is photographing.


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