Representation and Interpretation

In today’s societies advertisements can be interpreted and represented to individuals in so many ways and this is a predominantly controversial issue with the ways they are represented. This includes the words, symbols or how the individuals in the advertisement are placed. I’m going to share with you an advertisement and go through the semiotics process with you. The semiotics process allows us to understand the underlying message of images.

The first step in the process is denotation. This means to figure out what exactly it is being framed in the picture and what it may be an advertisement for. So, gather your thoughts and start decoding the image below.


So, my first observations of this image are that she is wearing silk nightwear, poker dot underwear and her hair was out in a messy like style. The color tone was saturated with orange like colors. The camera also looks up her dress and she looks down at the camera portraying confidence. I am assuming it is a perfume or makeup advertisement. However, the white writing “I flash in #mycalvins” implies it is a Calvin Kleins advertisement.

So now that we have gathered our thoughts and signified what is on the page, we are going to try to figure out what is being portrayed to the audience. This step is called connotation. The woman in this photo is actually an actress, Lara Kristen. Though, I didn’t recognize her as anyone famous. This advertisement was released on May 10th as part of a spring campaign and has become an iconic sequence of photos with “I ____ in #mycalvins”. It started with Justin Bieber, FKA Twigs and Fetty Wap “glowing”, “excelling” and “making money” in their Calvin’s to a new series of photos with sexualized themes such as the one we looked at. She is photographed with the camera pointing directly up her skirt. Some people were outraged at this photo and thought of it as a “recalled exploitative pornagraphic upskirt photos that are taken without the permission of the subject”.

It is defiantly possible to read this image more than one way. Although the text on the image has the hash tag #MyCalvin’s, the image of the actress can be depicted in different ways. What I thought of the image may be completely different to your thoughts. This is because interpretations are prejudiced from our beliefs, values and ideologies.




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