VIN entry #3 – Connotation and Myth

19 Nov

How we interpret a sign has everything to do with who we are psychologically. Our social background and personal experiences will determine how we read everything. Saussure recognized this, and thus developed the idea of connotation and myth as they apply to visual signs. The connotation of a sign refers not only to the emotional connotations of the image itself, but the feelings and thoughts we are supposed to experience based on how the image has been made. A photo taken with a long exposure time revealing streaks of light and movement for example, would conjure feelings of speed and perhaps a sense of being rushed. Consider this picture I took of my friend Matt in a tunnel.

A picture I took of my friend Matt

A picture I took of my friend Matt

Because the photo is in black and white, we are subconsciously asked to consider the picture in a somber and earnest way. This is due to our social connotation of black and white photography. Connotations from society also bring about myths. When the source of a connotation cannot be traced or even logically described, we consider it to be a “myth” in visual terms. For instance, this picture I took of my friend Todd.

A picture I took of my friend Todd

A picture I took of my friend Todd

With his tie and strong pose, he is ironically trying to embody what is seen as “manly.” However, our idea of what makes a man is a myth based on lost social connotation.

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