Semiotics is the study of signs and the meanings they evoke. I felt as though it was very important for me to research this topic as it is a crucial part of understanding visual symbolism, which my image relies heavily upon. One that I found particularly helpful was Charles Peirce’s theory of paradigmic representation. This being that you can provide or enhance meaning of an aspect by providing something complimentary in the image that the viewer is able to gain a sense of meaning through similarities and/or differences between the two. As much as I can, I plan to incorporate this into the bride and groom section of the image to help evoke a more emotional response within the viewer to help them empathize more with the child bride. As per my previous conundrum regrading how traditionally i should approach the representation of my bride and groom, I have decided that the best course of action for me to take is to try and find a middle ground. The theory that helped me to decide was Clifford Burgess’ 5 levels of codes and 5 levels of connotations. The 5 levels of codes are universal, national, regional, local and individual. The codification behind the visual representation of marriage falls mostly into the first and second levels. Universally, the most common representation of marriage is that between two individuals, most commonly that of a male and female. This can be seen in almost every culture worldwide. The national codes of representation is where culture begins to effect perception. For New Zealand, the cultural norm is that of a man dressed int a formal suit and a woman dressed in a long white gown and a thin vial. This is quite different from how a Syrian wedding can sometimes look. To attempt to both cultures then, I must try to find an intermediate point between both cultures. This is reinforced by the 5 levels of connotations of which cultural background is seen as the base level of interpreting the connotations of visual elements. As defined by Ferdinande De Saussure, culture is the only true context behind connotations given to things. Therefore if I am to clearly represent the two as being bride and groom, I must keep this in mind.
Another part of De Saussure’s theory that I found relevant was the idea of providing connotative meanings for objects through their surroundings. For example, although the wedding scene itself has many cultural connotations behind it, it is where the wedding is occurring that really provides a deep level of connotative information to the viewer. Initially I wasn’t going to have any background for my image, however after reading about this I realized that I have to show where it is set for setting and connotative purposes. The power of setting can be illustrated in the picture below that shows a picture of a child bride. My image will now include a battered refugee tent that I will manipulate to look more authentic in photoshop. In order to grasp the kills and techniques that will be required in order to carry this out, I will look at photoshop techniques in my next blog post.