A 4: Project 2. Reading pictures

Rip out an advertising image from a newspaper supplement and circle and write on as many parts of the image as you can. Comment on what it is, what it says about the product and why you think it’s there. You could use this as the basis for your assignment if you feel it’s taking you somewhere interesting. Or you could adopt this method for your assignment preparation.
Come back to this exercise when you’ve reached the end of Part Four and see if you can add anything to your analysis.


I pulled this ad from a copy of Vanity Fair, February 2016. It is publicity for Dolce & Gabbana products. I discovered that it is one of a series of advertisements, which can be seen on the Dolce & Gabbana site.

The image has various people either seated or standing outside or beside a restaurant and fruit vendor. There are eight women and two men. Most of the people in the image are taking photos of themselves (selfies). The three seated women have a light meal in front of them. The people in the image are a multinational group. One of the men is a waiter and the other a clergyman. Most of the women are wearing high-heeled shoes and their dresses are, for the most part, bright and colourful, many with floral motifs. Most of the women have a handbag or carrier bag in their hand or close to them. One of the women on the right of the image has a bouquet of yellow flowers. The mobile phones they are using seem to have a floral cover. The waiter is carrying a jug of water. The seated women appear to have wine in their glasses.

Behind the people to the left and centre of the image are two entrances. The wall is covered with bouzonville. Inside the left entrance there is a floral bouquet on a table. Inside the entrance on the right there is a set of white condiments on a table or sideboard. There are black & white images on the walls. The entrances are protected by bead curtains drawn to the side. The awning at the top of the image has five words written on it. At the rear of the right of the image there is a display of fruit and above the words FRITTIVEND are written.

DOLCE & GABBANA appears in the bottom right of the image. Below the word ITALIAISLOVE is written preceded by the # tag.

Above we have all the ‘signifiers‘.

The advertisement is showing us what fashion items Dolce&Gabbana will be offering clients. We can see that the style will be floral or nautical. Their carrier bags will also carry these themes. The shoes for the summer will have very high heels, be brightly coloured are also carry floral patterns. Although there are heavy Italian ‘signifieds’ the people are multiracial indicating that the cloths and accessories are suitable for all.

The people are mostly young, slim and pretty. Apart from the rather rotund Italian Mama, at the rear on the left, who is there to reinforce the ‘Italinicity‘ as Barthes calls this signified. The bouzonville is a further reinforcement of this message as are the Italian words on the awning. The yellow bouquet being carried by the lady makes us think of mimosa which further reinforces the Italian concept.

There are further connotations in the words on this awning. Domenica is there to link us with the Caribbean lady at the table. Pranzo is the Italian for lunch or dinner suggesting the food and wine on the red checked tablecloth. Portofino and Venezia are major Italian tourist attractions indicating that, at least some of these people are on holidays.

The one denotation or signifier I could not read was the presence of the clergyman. Looking at the other ads in the series there are nuns in some wearing brightly coloured high heels. I cannot see what is being indicated here.

I chose this particular ad because it is colourful and there is so much going on in it.


Another ad from this series.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s