Denotation & Connotation

These two terms from semiotic theory are basic in analysing an image or a whole text and help to organise and develop an analysis.

Analysing an image can be broken down into two broad areas:

1. Describe simply what the image contains within its frame.
2. Then, and only then, interpret the meaning of the picture.

These two stages are:

1. Denotation – describing what is literally in the picture.
2. Connotation – your interpretation of its meanings and associations.