One in 8 Million is an interesting online photo project in which a diverse range of people living in New York city talk about themselves with a slide show of still and black and white photographs that play-out in time with the audio narration. The pictures have been photographed to compliment the transcript and are a good example of how the theory of relay and on occasion anchoring is used with the audio. A very interesting social documentary on the diversity of New Yorkers. The interviews reflect what the individuals personality and identity from a woman into sexual bondage to a reformed drugs dealer, An immigrant from Nepal who is a baggage handler at JFK to a Blue Chip Broker and everyone in between a total of 54 different subjects all with there own story and collection of photos, that runs for two and a half minutes each. Very interesting and entertaining. Martin Parr, comments that in order to make interesting social documentaries he makes the entertaining to disguise the intended social message.
I have cut out three pictures from a daily news paper and added my own captions to the photos to alter their contextual meaning.
There are two types of messages that can be linked to a photograph, one is called an anchor and the other is called a relay.
Anchor is a message that controls the meaning of the picture.
Relay is a message that can complement an image. If you select songs to listen to on You-Tube they are sometimes accompanied by photographs that link certain passages of the song to the image and the relay method appears to work well here.
Anchors – The Clooney’s meet Angela Merkel
- The Clooney’s negotiate for celebrity asylum in Germany.
- George Clooney offers Angela Merkel a part in his next movie.
- Angela Merkel asks the stars of Hollywood if they have a spare room for an asylum seeker or two…
- Angela Merkel is coached by George Clooney before her speech to the European Parliament.
- George Clooney complaints to the management that it just isn’t Nescafé!
- Friends of the Clooney’s are airing concerns for George and Amal’s marriage, stating that Amal often privately complains that she feels ignored and marginalised in public by George.
- With the support of his wife George Clooney publicly denies sending a lewd and explicit Valentines card to Angela Merkel.
I have thought of seven new messages that anchor this in a new context and I am sure many more could be invented.
Relay – The Clooney’s meet Angela Merkel
- Hey you with the sad face, why don’t you come back to our place and live it up.
- “I’m sorry, I thought I saw a bureaucrat!”
- “Ein Nescafé bitte”
- A carrier in marriage counselling, it’s more than just a job.
- “The Lynx affect – LYNX deodorant.
- “Dr. Amal and I have been examining your test results and……..”
- “He looks much older than he does in the movies.”
Again I was able to come up with seven relay messages for this photo.
George Osborn poses in front of No 11 before he takes his Budget speech to Parliament.
- George Osborne in a public show of expense cutting reveals he takes to work a packed lunches.
- George Osborn warns the British economy is still in the red.
- George Osborn returns from the European conference with a written guarantee from the German Chancellor.
- George Osborn, is seen sporting the new Armani man-bag.
- Prime-minister demotes George Osborn to head of No 10’s post room.
- Osborn returns the queens favourite handbag, “I was able to rescue it before security blew it up.” He later reported.
I was able to produce six alternative anchors for this photo.
- “I’m putting your taxes up for a start!”
- “Allah is Great!”
- Is he holding the future to your pension?
- The economy
- Good budgeting tips.
I was able to produce six relays for this picture.
English Rugby team
- British Rugby team learn of the death of a rising star player.
- The ball just misses the posts and England looses the match.
- English Rugby players are asked to sing the national anthem from memory.
- Mako Vunipola is ordered off the pitch for an illegal tackle.
- The moment the terrorist blew himself up.
- Hackers share shocking selfies of Mako Vunipola on stadium’s big screens.
I managed to produce six anchors for this image.
- Tense nervous headache?
- “I can’t look!”
- Have you bought your lottery ticket?
- “Hold my hand lest I fall…” (Jim Reeves, Take My Hand Precious Lord)
On this occasion I could only think of four relays for this picture.
I can see from these new anchor messages that an image can be turned from serious to comical or used for advertising / Political or socially concerning messages. Similarly a relay message can do similar things including linking to literature such as poetry or lyrics to a song.
In Barthes essay, ‘Rhetoric of the image’ he uses photographs used for advertisements as an example of his argument. Referring to an advert for Italian ‘Panzani’ pasta and salsas he describes the image as having a language that can be read, he suggest that by analysing the picture, three messages can be deduced: a linguistic message, a coded iconic message, and a non-coded iconic message.
Coded and non-coded iconic messages can be mixed together and they are visual queues often learned through cultural experiences.
A linguistic message is a message in text that accompanies the picture and this takes two forms ‘anchor’ and ‘relay’.
Anchoring is the most common and is commonly used for both advertising and press photography. This is a form of text that anchors the meaning of the image to a written message of the advertisement or the news story.
Relay, is not so commonly used, it is often used for complementary relationships between fragments of text and images. For example an appropriately complementing photograph to a section of text from a poem. This type of message allows the picture and text to interact with each other. A picture of a green field dotted here and there with red poppies and a short section of a war poem suggests that the image reflects the text and the text reflects the image. The image already has connotations of war and remembrance as does the chosen passage from a poem.
The denoted image. Barthes writes that the denoted image for a photograph is a message without a code, the photograph is able to transmit the literal information but a drawing must first follow rules which even when denoted is still a coded message. A drawing requires a certain amount of training thus introducing style as a second cultural coded message. The photograph simply denoting the relationship of nature and a single culture coded message from the image itself.
Rhetoric of the image. In an image rhetoric is the message based on cultural and educational experiences that communicate to the viewer at different levels based on education and life’s experiences this is done at an unconscious level. Objects that can be recognised as symbols for example the net bag holding the Penzani pasta products suggesting to some connotations of a fishing net or harvesting together a meal, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, connotations of the Italian flag, fresh healthy meal, etc.