Interesting Essay on Symbols in Art

Titled Art and the Semiotics of Images: Three Questions About Visual Meaning  this piece of writing by George L. Dillon of the University of Washington, July 1999.

The essay is quite long and I have not read the whole piece yet, but it has some interesting comments to make early on which promise a good read.

. . . “Some say that images work via a second communicative system, one fully as expressive as natural language, but separate and structured independently of it. Others find visual and verbal meanings more dissimilar than similar, with the visual lacking a kind of determinacy for which verbal language seems better suited. . . ”

The relationship between the expressive and suggestive nature of semiotics embedded into an photograph is something that I am trying to keep in mind when planning photo shoots for the current series for this project.

“Though pictures are quite different from texts of natural language, they are not wholly different, and many have sought parallels between the two media. Like texts, most pictures are composed of parts, though the parts are bits of image (and perhaps words) arranged on a surface. When the various shapes in a picture wash and flow and blend into each other and the background, they do not seem very much like words, but when they have crisp edges, as for example in the Dada photomontage introduced here, they have attracted the term “word” and their arrangement likened to a syntax.”

To read the full essay by George L. Dillon follow the link.



Text and information retrieved from:

Dillon, George L. “Art and the Semiotics of Images: Three Questions About Visual Meaning.” Master’s thesis, University of Washington, 1999.


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