Rhetoric of the Image (1964) – Roland Barthes

Panzani Advertisement

The image is something of an enigma for me with regards to meaning and, according to Barthes (1964), this mystery can be seen from two fronts. Firstly, linguists say that compared to language, the image is fairly simplistic: ‘the image is an extremely rudimentary system in comparison with language’ - (Barthes, 1964). Secondly, ‘those who think that signification cannot exhaust the image’s ineffable richness.’ - (Barthes, 1964). I would put Vilém Flusser in this second category who talks of the ‘magic’ of images recurring infinitely: ‘the image is none other than the world of magic, a world in which everything is repeated and in which everything participates in a significant context.’ - (Flusser, 1983).