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A beautiful view, a rock, a girl, and a laptop are seen at a glance, most likely in a different order for each viewer. This image may bring up multiple questions about its validity and message based on how the observer interprets it.

In this picture, I am sitting on top of a rock, looking out at the water that separates the mainland from an island, Magnetic Island, off of the coast of Queensland, Australia. This picture can be interpreted in various ways. The literal meaning of this image, in terms of Roland Barthes' analysis of images, is that I am on top of a rock, looking out on a scene, with a laptop in my lap, and the scene I am viewing is also present on the screen of the laptop. However, looking at the picture’s symbolic message leaves the meaning of the picture open to more interpretation.

Symbolically, the image may tell a different story to each person who views it. It may tell the tale of a girl who has hiked to the top of a rock with her laptop so as to capture a picture of the beauty of the landscape with her computer, or it may tell the story of the natural versus technology, or even the reality of a scene, like this, in comparison to what one may be able to find in media, such as the internet and how photographs can never do the real scene justice. The image may be telling the viewer that the world is larger than any photograph could really show. It may, however, express the influence of reminiscing. Could it be that the girl is not on top of this rock at all, but simply in the comfort of her own room and looking at this picture, that she took on her trip to Australia, reminds her of this very scene? The picture could be telling us that remembering a scene can sometimes bring our minds to a vivid memory of that place.

Leaving a wonderful place is difficult to do, especially when you go back to an ordinary life. Sometimes when life feels routine, people will turn to reminiscing about past times. Looking through photographs is one way to really feel like you are back in that place, that time in their life, again. When I traveled to Australia, I saw so many amazing views. Looking at pictures of these incredible landscapes was one way to remember my trip more vividly. Because of this experience, this is how I, personally, view the image.

In terms of technology and nature being in the same picture, it may seem strange at first because a laptop, especially at such a height and on top of a rock, nonetheless, does not appear to be normal. It is not an image one is used to seeing and so, it may take a moment for the viewer to accept the image. It will certainly cause the viewer to question whether or not the image is a true image or one that is simply photoshopped (the latter being the case in this particular instance), but how could the viewer be certain without closer inspection and at least some interpretation of the image’s meaning.

Because this image, along with all other images, does not have any one definite meaning, it leaves itself more open to interpretation. If the viewer sees the general theme as daydreaming, he or she may feel open to examining the image in terms of his or her own experiences and may be able to replace the scene with one of his or her own memories or daydreams. The more ambiguous an image, the more a person feels able to relate to it and insert his or herself in the scene, as Scott McCloud describes in the “Vocabulary of Comics.” Observers may become more invested in the image when they can develop their own coded iconic message for the picture. The ability of a person to interpret images in different ways is one of the main points of separation between images and writing. Written work often argues a specific point that tells the reader what to think. Images, however, are always open to interpretation, provided the viewer looks closely enough with a critical eye.


The picture of me on the rock was taken by Faith Calleson and used with permission. The background, as well as the picture of the laptop were both my own. The rock and background photographs were taken in Australia, on at Magnetic Island and on on top of "Castle Hill" looking out to Magnetic Island.


I liked the subtle nature of your image. Certainly makes me want to visit the down under!

The last sentence of the second to last paragraph seems a little awkward to me. I had to read it more than once before moving on to the last paragraph. You might want to see if you can get it to flow better.

This is a really cool way of portraying reminiscence. Your second to last paragraph about nature and technology makes a good point about how the viewer may accept your image. I would remove the parenthetical statement in the paragraph and turn the concluding question into a statement to be more concise. Overall, nice job. I love the concept, and you analyzed its variety of interpretation well.

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