Project 2 Image and Text Exercise 1

Cut out some pictures from a newspaper and write your own captions.

Try the same exercise for both anchoring and relaying. Blog about it.

I read through both ‘The Death of the Author’ and ‘Rhetoric of the Image‘ essays by Roland Barthes. I must admit I found them both a little heavy going but I persevered through both pieces, thought provoking stuff. I found ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ a little easier to digest although still, I admit, tough! It was interesting to read about the link we place between text and image through, Barthes does this by breaking down what we see in an advert for Italian food, the symbols, stereotypes and associations we place on object, colours and shapes to make us interested in a product or to try and sell us the product. Barthes breaks this down further into 3 sections focusing on linguistic message, denoted images and connoted image. I found the quote below from Rhetoric of the Image helpful in trying to understand the difference between ‘anchorage‘ and ‘relay‘:

Anchorage is the “most frequent function of the linguistic message and is commonly found in press photographs and advertisements. The function of relay is less common and can be seen particularly in cartoons and comic strips. Here text and image stand in complementary relationship.” 

Quote from ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ by Roland Barthes

My understanding of ‘The Death of the Author’  is that it challenges the idea of authorship between creator and the thing they create be they writer, artist, photographer. The creation is not solely down to the author but of the influences from society and culture, beliefs that seep into the creation. So everything you have seen, read or done in life has influenced your creation. I remember John Berger also speaks of this in some of his books I have read. Your creation is then interpreted subjectively, differently by each individual who consumes it, everyone gets something different out of it.


For this exercise I cut out pictures from The i Paper and from The Times paper dated Monday 6th February 2017 and took a snapshot on my phone for my Learning Blog.

How do the words you put next to the image contextualise/re-contextualise it?

This was a bit of fun exercise to do. I think I slipped a little into satire with my alternative headlines, its all in good humour though. I found it really interesting how different text can easily change the perceived meaning of a photograph. I can see how easy it would be to create propaganda and I think that’s where the ethical side needs to come into photography and journalism with some form of checking fact from fiction. Also trying to attach some idea of time and place are really hard from just looking at a photograph without the date of the newspaper or the caption below it to give it context.

How many meanings can you give to the same picture?

I managed to come up with a variety of different meanings for the photographs, some were easier to come up with alternative meanings/headlines. All total nonsense though really and no relation to their original meaning. I was a little cautious how far to take it though, this is just an exercise.

I think I probably flipped between Anchor and Relay in my captions below. Some of the pictures were so open to different interpretations really. In particular the first photograph of the President for the United States. I thought the original heading had very little relation to the photograph, there are the the 2 flags (US and UK) behind the president but apart from that the facial expression of the president left it far too open to interpretation without a definitive heading. The image of Le Pen was a little unfortunate. The clowns were a great image, without the original heading you would have totally no idea what this was about, it was fun creating alternative heading for this one. The final image of the Royals also a fun action shot, which I guess was the easiest to link into some form of athletics event and for such high key figures to be involved you would think it was something to do with the Olympics.


capture“President invokes the presence of Elvis in latest Speech”

“President starts war with Terminator on Social Media”

“I am your president and there is nothing you can do about it”

“President sees own reflection in mirror”

“President bemused by latest Fake News”

“Take me to your leader, oh wait that’s me”

“I just farted”

“You’re fired”

“President has a face off with four year old, President wins”

“President gets through to 2nd round of Britain’s got talent”

Original Headline was “MPs threaten to boycott Trump at Westminster”


“Don’t worry, we are not a fascist political movement”

“The Fire Exits are here, here and here”

“High Five anyone”

“Le Pen left hanging”

Original Headline was “We’ll follow Britain to Freedom, says Le Pen”


“World Leaders meet for Climate Change talks”

“Trump announces 3 new executive officers”

“Teresa May announces 3 new Cabinet Member appointments”

“Boy band reunites for comeback tour”

“David, George and Boris at Eaton reunion”

“Auditions take place in London for new Stephen King movie”

Original Headline was “A celebration of Clowns”


“Princes compete for cheekiest grin”

“Royals run on thin air”

“Harry challenges William to a race to the throne”

“Training for the next Olympics begins at the Olympic Park”

“Harrod’s announces 50% off sale”

Original Headline was “Royal Line: A competitive Prince Harry beat his brother and sister-in-law at the Olympic park yesterday in an event for their mental health charity Heads Together”


Images re-used for educational purposes as part of OCA course. General Satire.

Images taken from The i Paper and the Times Paper on Monday 6th February 2017.

‘The Death of the Author’ and ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ by Roland Barthes

‘The Death of the Author’ Simplified (Roland Barthes)


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