Week 4 – Into the Image World: Reflections

I quite understand the use of advertising images to illustrate the points in this week’s material.  However, despite the fact that we are surrounded by these images daily, I found this rather difficult because for many years I have ignored them completely.  They have become noise to me.  I rarely watch them on the TV as I don’t watch much broadcast programming and it is only when I am in the market for something particular will I look for info on the product, and even then, I bypass the advert to look at the product itself in more detail.  I cannot say I am never swayed to look at something when I happen to see a clever ad, but it is quite rare.

Ads rarely capture my attention, but photos in an editorial context often do.  An example from the 21 February 2019 edition of the Wall Street Journal is below.  Self-admitted gearhead and former racing driver that I am and despite not generally being all that fond of Ferrari, this one stopped me in my tracks.

Ferrari Pista -WSJ 21Feb19

GIMME A BRAKE The flashy Pista can go from 0-62 mph in 2.85 seconds and return to a dead stop in 93.5 feet. Photo: Ferrari

And I find it an interesting photograph to try to analyse as part of this week’s exercise.  The denoted (signified) image is quite simple to discern.  The bright red image of a $450,000 super car with extraordinarily beautiful lines is rather impossible to miss on the tarmac.  Judging by the tire marks on the tarmac the car was repositioned at least a couple of times to get the angle of the light reflecting off the bodywork just right; the car was carefully posed. There is nothing to distract from this signifier and its placement along the diagonal further clarifies its dominance.

The connoted image is surprising more complex for such a visually simple and uncluttered image.  In concert with the caption it is clear this is very high-performance automobile borrowing aerodynamics and other design elements from F1 and GTP racing platforms.  There is surface beauty to be sure, but it is more than skin deep as this car is loaded with performance technology.  I suspect that the principal, though not exclusive, demographic Ferrari appeal to are men 30-55 with plenty of discretionary spending power.  This is a wealthy person’s toy, perhaps a symbol of status, and something that screams ‘look at me’ for the owner that wants to be noticed everywhere they go.

An oppositional view might be something along the lines of who needs a $450,000 car that can do 211 mph that hasn’t room in the boot for hardly an overnight bag.  It might be the red colour or the racing stripe that seem pretentious, or that Ferrari are notoriously difficult and expensive to maintain. Or it might be that a car such as this must use a tremendous amount of fuel and is therefore environmentally irresponsible.  It is absolutely not the car for someone who does not wish to advertise their wealth or someone in need of practical transportation.

I am a bit fuzzier on the negotiated view.  Perhaps it is along the lines of; it is a well-executed photograph of a beautiful, but altogether impractical and for most unattainable car.  In other words, wow that is nice, but…

 

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