For Monday’s readings, I particularly liked the description of connotation versus denotation in semiotic analysis. While denotation refers to a very literal meaning, connotation may refer to other things. The example given in the Gill reading was of a rose. A rose denotes a very specific kind of flower. A rose may also connote love. I think that this is something that is widely used in the media and especially in advertising. Before this reading, I had not really thought about how connotations and denotations of things are used in advertising. This advertisement denotes a girl who is just amazed at the Burger King super seven incher sandwich which is in front of her. What is the connotation?
As the Gill reading mentioned, in many advertisements one thing is shown but is typically used to symbolize another. The example of a diamond was given; in this commercial for a diamond ring, what is shown is simply a man giving a ring to a woman. However, in our culture we have learned that this gesture may symbolize marriage, commitment, or love, and we are therefore able to interpret the commercial as more than a man giving a woman a piece of jewelry to wear around.
Finally, I thought that the section in van Zoonen about camera angles and movements was something that we have all witness before but maybe have not thought about! On page 76..when the signifier is close up, intimacy is signified. A personal relationship is signified with a medium shot signifier (more of the body than a face close up). A public distance is signified when there is a long shot signifier with setting and characters included. A social relationship is signified with a full shot signifier. Finally, by panning up or down, power and authority or weakness can be signified. This breakdown of some scenes in To Kill A Mockingbird illustrates these signifiers very well. To me, these few examples, taken from one movie, show that we encounter signifiers very frequently and that these influence how we interpret the things that we see.