Sunday, 9 January 2011

How Text Effects the Meaning of an Image and How the Use of Text with Image can Create Emotion


How Text Effects the Meaning of an Image

The use of text within images plays a very important role in explaining the context of an image.
The lack of text in images can often lead the viewer to be drawn to one conclusion when the actual context and message of the image is another.

The importance of text can be seen in the images below. The first image is of a woman holding a gun, who we assume is of a Muslim background as she is wearing clothing that resembles the traditional clothing from the Muslim faith. A viewer studying this image without reading the text is likely to believe that this image is promoting both war and conflict and that the image itself could be used as some sort of advert to recruit female soldiers. When studying the image with the text, the true context of the image can be identified. The text says “Would there be war if the world was run by woman?” Viewers of the image will now see that context of the image is not promoting the war but instead is promoting an anti war context.  The text is questioning the purpose of the war and attempting to get the viewer to think that if certain individuals currently in power were replaced that the war would stop.



The second image is of a senior citizen emptying out his washing machine only to find out that he has turned all his white clothes pink as he has mistakenly left a red sock in with his white clothes.
A viewer studying this image without reading the text is likely to believe that this image is trying to highlight a serious issue that effects many senior citizens, namely going senile. When studying the image with the text, the true context of the image can once again be identified. The text says “Be Gay for a Day!” Viewers of the image will now see the context of the image is not trying to highlight going senile as an issue, but instead using stereotypical humour relating to the use of the colour pink as a way to make viewers aware of a Gay parade in the area.



How the Use of Text with Image can Create Emotion

Text within an image can create a number of emotions both good and bad. The text itself can actually alter the emotion of the image had the text not been there and therefore is used to alter the viewers interpretation.

The image below is an example of graffiti street art that was created by Banksy an artist who I particularly like. The image below is of a begger, which has a white cup at his feet. When studying the image without the text the emotion that is believed by the viewer is that of sympathy for the begger. The viewer should want to help this individual by helping him with any spare change that they can provide for him.



When studying this same image with the text on the beggers sign it is clear that the emotion quickly changes from sympathy for the begger to a sense of pride. The text on the begger’s sign says “ Keep your coins I want change!” The viewers emotions change from sympathy to pride as the image of a traditional begger who has no one to care for him but himself, is more concerned about changing the lives of others and not just his own.

The image below is a desaturated image, which reflects that of an old photograph. Clearly this is a personal image displaying a couple hugging one another on a bed showing emotions of love and care for one another.
The text below the image is written in handwriting once again illustrating a personal touch. However this personal touch has a very different emotion as the text below is an attempt to persuade the viewer that the lady in the image still maintains the emotion of love and care for the man she is hugging. Reading the text it is clear that the woman no longer does care or love this man however the man is hanging on to the fact that in the past she did love him and maybe in future she could love him again.


The change in text style for the title works well with this image as it shows a contrast between his attempt to persuade us i.e. the text below and the title, which I believe he has written for himself i.e. MY Proof.




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