Paris: Armand Colin, 1993. -191 p .; 24cm. – (Collection of Communications; 1 Teaching) ISBN 2-200-21195-3.
Starting with an advertising image produced to promote the cigarette brand, Marie-Claude Vettraino-Soulard suggests describing and others describing the elements (qualified as “visual phrases”) contained in this image, in order to analyze the way these elements are broken down and perceived by the test audience (in this case made up of potential consumers), but also the way in which they “read” the image, ie according to how the eye discovers it, which attracts the eye as what remains invisible to it. .
form and meaning
So, this is not a strictly documentary part of elaborating a description in terms of indexing the elements contained in an image (problematic, about which there is already abundant literature), but work on the form and meaning of images and the way the brain perceives them, especially when, as here, it is a “sign” image (intended to convey a certain message), not an “image”. index ”(which, a priori, does not have the meaning that the author wants and elaborates).
If the approach is meticulous, and is based on a large number of testimonies carefully broken down into many graphs and tables, it suffers from being expressed mainly in words, and doctoral analysis of the problems posed as well as the answers given. , although in his preface the author emphasizes that talking about “reading” in connection with the painting is at best an analogy, at worst a misinterpretation.
Certain modern techniques, which allow tracking the physical movements of the eye by detecting an image, have not been used; the author advocated an openly structuralist approach which, if it has the merits of coherence, sometimes stumbles in a precise interpretation of the way the retained image is appropriated and, above all, assumes by “witnesses” the reconstitution of the presumed goal. their discovery and their appropriation of the analyzed image.
In that sense, the paper is less “iconic content analysis” (as its subtitle indicates) than “access control”, whose goal is to prove that, in this case, the advertiser’s goal is (to draw attention to the package). cigarettes that appear in an a priori “innocent” place in the picture and have a memorized brand name to encourage purchase). We will not be surprised to learn that in most cases this “act of recognition” has been proven.
To that extent, it is not really a work of collecting “schemes” of the image, and in a different way, towards every person, on whom those schemes feel and, or not, are kept. However, all those who are interested in the perception of the image, but also in the way it can be manipulated (a subject that, again, has already produced a rich bibliography), will be strict with the method and honesty of the subject, nourished by a rich and well-documented bibliography.