Critical Reading and Writing

Obviously, each image has its own message, which the artist attempts to convey to his or her audience. In this respect, the three pictures may be viewed as examples of symbolic depiction of artists’ ideas which are conveyed to the audience in the visual form. In actuality, each image has its own, unique meaning and symbols which reveal the personal position of the artist who created the image. In actuality, it proves to be beyond a doubt that visual images are particularly effective when artists attempt to convey their ideas, feelings or any other message to the audience. At the same time, people often are unaware of the fact that images are able to produce a significant impact on the individual’s perception and, what is more important, to shape human identity or, at least, the perception of specific events, people, etc.[1].

Barthes, for instance, discusses electoral photography and its impact on the audience, voters. He argues that electoral photography is able to convey multiple messages, including linguistic, coded iconic and non-coded iconic messages[2]. In such a way, it is necessary to bear in mind the multitude of messages and, therefore, the multitude of meaning electoral photography can have as well as their influence on the audience.

In this respect, three images apparently have the common trend since all of them appeal to the liberation, to freedom which, though, is presented in different context. To put it more precisely, the first image appeals to the liberation and independence of Puerto Rico. The author of the image apparently stands on a radical ground because the linguistic message clearly states that Puerto Rico needs independence and socialism, while the latter is traditionally associated with radical left movements. In addition, the image contains symbolic messages[3]. For instance, the depiction of the weapon clearly indicates to the appeal of the artist to the revolutionary struggle to achieve goals which were clearly defined in the linguistic message of the painting. Moreover, the painting contains a peasant working in the field and cleaning the field. This image is also very symbolic because it implies that peasants should carry out the revolution to clean Puerto Rico from destructive element, which prevents the country from prosperity.

The second picture is also quite symbolic and it also has strong messages. In fact, the main point of the picture, which is clearly stated in the linguistic message, is the justice for all, racial equality and it also appeals to put the end to surveillance[4]. In such a way, the artists apparently protests against racial discrimination and inequality, which result in the unjust treatment of representative of different races. In this respect, the cage symbolizes the limitation of human rights and liberties, while the freed birds of different colors symbolize allegorical images of humans who suffer from injustice and oppression of their rights and who eventually become equal in their freedom.

The third image is similar to the first image since it contains the appeal to the liberation of Puerto Rico. However, the picture does not appeal directly to the revolutionary struggle, but it rather appeals to the social protests. In this respect, the images of people probably depict the leaders of the liberation movement. This image is quite symbolic[5] since these people are placed on the bloody-red background that implies that they have sacrificed their life for the liberation of Puerto Rico. In such a way, with the help of visual means the artist conveys his idea and vision of the liberation, which is the realization of subjective freedom of an artist to convey his message in the form he believes to be the most efficient[6].

In such a way, visual images, being different in the essence, have multiple messages which convince the audience to support the position of their creators. At the same time, each painting has its unique characteristics and symbols which distinguish it from others. Hence, it is obvious that symbolic language can be very eloquent and, in this regard, a symbolic message is similar to a linguistic message.

[1] Barthes, R.1972. Photography An Electoral Appeal. In Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang, p.91.

[2] Barthes, R.1977. Rhetoric of Image. In Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang, p.36.

[3] Barthes, R.1977. Rhetoric of Image. In Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang, p.36.

[4] Barthes, R.1977. Rhetoric of Image. In Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang, p.35

[5] Barthes, R.1977. Rhetoric of Image. In Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang, p.36.

[6] Barthes, R.1977. Preface. In Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang, p.12

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