Creating Meaning: Images and Language

A slice of cake, a fitness ball, and a chic boutique. If you were to view Buried Treasures of Greenville without reading the text from my previous post, or sitting in on my class presentation, you may be left wondering:

What is it?

As discussed in Anders Fagerjord’s Multimodal Polyphony, anchorage provides the answer to this central question. The images of my slide show are dependent on narration. How would you interpret the meaning of the images without the use of language to advance the narrative? Anchoring the images with language gives the slide show greater meaning and coherence. Fagerjord’s description of the relationship between language and images is applicable to my slide show: “Since the language is coherent, the images less so, the resulting appearance to the reader is that the language orders the images, which are there to illustrate and embellish the story.”

However, when singling out particular images, it becomes more difficult to discern whether the narration anchors the image or whether the image illustrates the narration. When the meaning of an image relies more heavily on the image in and of itself rather than the language, it is considered an illustration.

The first image of Urban Threads needs an answer to the question, “what is it?” Does the second image rely on narration to anchor the image, or does it illustrate the narration?

Once the audience learns about Urban Threads, the second picture reiterates, or illustrates a previous point by giving the audience a view of the inside of the store. The meaning of the second image carries greater weight than the meaning that language employs.

The relationship between images and language is interdependent in a multimedia presentation and it is difficult to value one over the other. How did you see this relationship playing out in your slideshow? Does the meaning of your slideshow depend more on the images or the language?


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