Part Four: Reading Photographs Project 2: Reading pictures

Project 2 Reading pictures

research point


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.

What it is – Translation:

The setting is a converted loft space. A desk with a Father and son occupy the centre of the image. They appear to be looking at a large computer screen and playing with a toy airplane. The desk sits in front of immaculate floor to ceiling bespoke shelving, which it matches, with neatly arranged personal ornaments and possessions. The room presents as light and airy. The carpeted floor is similarly immaculate. The eye is drawn to the father and son at the desk as the only animated subjects in the image, though the wide depth of field then lets me see beyond them to the wall furniture.

The point:

  • It is obviously an advert for bespoke furniture as signposted by the text.

What it says about the product – Interpretation:

  • A wide depth of field has been used so the viewer can see everything in detail, if the purpose had been to show the relationship between the father and son the focus would have been shallow and upon them.
  • It has been framed so to include as much of the furniture as possible and to make the room look spacious.
  • The perspective and position of the desk draw the viewer into the shelving in the background.
  • If the image had been without text it still would have been obvious that it was a furniture advert as the room is unnaturally organised and pristine.
  • The colours of the contents fittings and furniture are coordinated as it the Father’s clothing, the only accent is the boy’s shirt which is still harmonious.
  • The intention is to present furniture that is appealing to the eye (so much so that it looks like a shop not a real room) and that organises the room contents.
  • The items on the shelving are carefully chosen to promote a feeling of good design, coordination, good taste, good living standard (Quebec sign) and enjoyment of life (hobbies and interests represented).
  • The father and son are presented as happy and having fun to further promote the idea that furniture like this will make your family happy.



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