Continuing on the previous post and reflection on “Using pictures to tell a story” this feels to provide even more structure to the thoughts. The concepts of Anchor and Relay are introduced. Anchor as the perceptual steering text surrounding an image. Text that forces the direction of thought by the writer/creator to the viewer, constraining it, forcing the opinion of the creator onto the viewer. Holding the image within the boundaries of its intention.

The relay an almost the opposite, it enhances the ambiguity, it stimulates an active role by the viewer, it widens the reach of the image. The relaying form of text on an image seems in line with the postmodern view on a narrative where the experience is created within the viewer and not so much by the creator, viewer perception over creator direction?

In his (for me) difficult to read essay Rhetoric of an Image, Barthes defines the multiple functions of an image.

The linguistic message, the iconic message and the literal message. R, the(intended and in this case written) message, the cultural position as experienced by the viewer and the physical representation, where all other functions are deleted from the image. Leaving the literal message out of the further discussion, as it is merely what it is, he continues with Anchorage and relaying of an image. The restricting of the linguistic message, the control of the viewer’s interpretation; the anchor, whereas the relay is textual more complementary, enhancing the ambiguity and providing a more free interpretation by the viewer. He also defines the coded and uncoded iconic message, analogue to iconic and literal almost, continuing in an analogy using connotation and denotation.

Barthes states possibly correct that the literal image is hardly ever truly and fully present if so the image would or becomes meaningless. (or is intended as meaningless.) Especially in advertising and marketing undoable and probably unwanted.


Bibliography and Reference list

Barthes, R. (1967). The Death of the Author. [online] Available at:

McGee, T. (2020a). Barthes Rhetoric of the ImageYouTube. Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun. 2020].

McGee, T. (2020b). Barthes Rhetoric of the Image, Pt. 2YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun. 2020].