‘According to Roland Barthes (1977, p.16), “…the structure of the photograph is not an isolated structure; it is in communication with at least one other structure, namely the text – title, caption or article – accompanying every press photograph”.  Discuss the above, relate the theory to Sebastiao Salgado’s project ‘GENESIS’ and according to the framework of semiotic theory look separately at the images, photographer’s testimony and also at the captions/text of the particular project’.

Alto Xingu Indians in Central Brazil – (Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas Images, ‘GENESIS’, 2013.

 

...Conclusions extracted by the author

‘GENESIS’ book combines a straightforward collaboration of photography and language. In my opinion, Salgado succeeds in transmitting the targeted messages to his audience about protecting our planet, reversing the damage done to it and preserving it for the future; he is controlling the meaning conveyed by his project by combining: (a) beautiful images that show the exquisiteness of our planet, (b) an affectionate speech at the opening of his exhibition, (c) a strong introduction in his book and (d) detailed captions/text that provide the necessary information in order to comprehend each image and story well.Research covered by the author indicates that language has always been central to the meaning and exploitation of photographic images. The dynamics of the partnership of photography and language cannot be overwhelmed. ‘Pure’ texts are difficult to be initiated as long as they incorporate visuality the moment they are written or printed in visible form; the same applies to ‘pure’ visual experiences as the rest of our senses are still operating when we look at an image. The challenge remains for photographers, writers, researchers, editors, etc., so as to develop an-in depth understanding of how to combine and use language and images in an effective way in order to best serve their targets and goals.