Kaesong, North Korea, on Tuesday. Heavy industry in North Korea still running full speed despite coronavirus

The anchoring caption restricts the image in almost all facets Barthes defines. It sets the time (2020 during corona-pandemic), place North Korea, it defines its intention (news) and it indicates largely the opinion of the medium, indicating pollution or heavy activity while the pandemic should result in less active production/pollution.

Everything is defined by the caption. a linguistic message, a coded iconic message, and a non-coded iconic message. However, the non-coded iconic message, in this case, is not conveying anything from the caption autonomously. It is merely a plume of smoke in an undefined landscape, even the weather is somewhat undefined. The linguistic level of messaging is again only present by its caption. The Polysemy of the image (therefor?) is great, in fact, it can be anything, anywhere, anywhere, leaving the message of the image fully up to the viewer. There is hardly any cultural placing either. A caption here is essential. Second thoughts, would this always be the case; the vaguer the image, the greater the polysemy or is that too simple?

The original caption from the New Your Times was: Credit…

This puts the image in the same period and place, but with a completely different message. Although in both situations there is some threat, some discomfort in the connotation, depicted well in the image.

A relaying capturing could be: where smoke is, is fire. While working on this exercise, I noticed that for relaying, the image needs to convey more intrinsically then with anchoring to become meaningful. In this case, when the caption is not specific, it seems doable, but with more complex or better, refined messages, the image needs to be more specific it feels. Although image and caption are at the same level, the chances are the image becomes an illustration to the message.


When the world is in distress, we need engagement, compassion and dedication by the ones that inspire us.

I tried to create a relaying caption on an image from the NYT. The caption represents my thoughts on the matter. The image though, can be interpreted either way in relation to the caption. Is this an inspiring, compassionate leader, does this image depict engagement? The coded message seems opposite from the uncoded or does the coding refer to the uncoded version?  How would one interpretative my caption, my idea? In a polarised world, the trenches are taken in a split second, an image cannot afford to be undisputedly clear if it needs to be effectively partisan. Any doubt will not only cause ambiguity, but it will also be misused by opposing thoughts, denied by others, falsified by many and not by the least ones.


This morning, thinking about this exercise and this image: By all this shouting by the unheard, I hear nothing but myself anymore.


Question 2 of this exercise I skipped, seems a rhetoric question anyway.



Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. (2020). The New York Times. [online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/ [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].

California College of the Arts – CCA (2020). Lecture by Sophie CalleYouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMraLWWMvNw [Accessed 16 Jun. 2020].