Having reached the end of my ‘Deconstruction’ studies I can can now break down the elements even further.
The French Philosopher Jacques Derrida coined the term ‘Deconstruction’ and beleived language to be polysemous. He thought that to understand how something is made, you have to take it apart before putting it back together.
In photography language the tools for deconstruction were produced by Roland Barthes, through his study of semiotics. In this study of signs of language that, Barthes provied us with the terms and tools that can be helpful in interpreting photos.
Using the above advert as a focus point, I have deconstructed it as follows:
SIGN = SIGNIFIER + SIGNIFIED
Signifiers (whats in the photo)
A baby dressed in pink in a ballerina pose looking towards the sky.
An adult ballerina mimicking the pose.
A baby’s nursery.
A blue teddy bear.
A blue footstool.
Product images with nutrition information.
Signified (what it means)
A healthy start in life provided by Aptamil with aspirations of becoming a ballerina. The baby is pointing to the milk with her toes suggesting its what she wants. She is also looking and pointing towards the sky meaning the sky’s the limit with this formula.
Aptamil helps the baby become a professional ballerina who’s healthy, fit and happy.
A milky coloured nursery full of milky dreams.
The blue bear placed next to the cot reiterates this milk is also for boys. The blue footstool is sending the male message across whilst offering support to a vulnerable new walker.
Its a healthy formula and full of all those important nutrients.
Denotation (objective translation)
A baby of standing age in a ballerina pose with an adult ballerina in the background. Both situated in a baby’s nursery with baby formula shown and text saying ‘Their future starts today’.
Connotation (subjective interpretation)
If the baby drinks this formula she can be healthy and strong enough to fulfil her dreams.
Punctum (disrupting elements)
The UK Law prohibits advertising and promotion of infant formula only (marketed for use from birth). Follow-on formula (marketed for use from 6 months of age) and milks for older babies can be advertised and promoted – BUT this must not cross-promote infant formula through similar branding or by it not being obvious the product is for older babies.
This advert states that breast milk is best for your baby, in contrast some of the products made by Aptimil.
Stadium (cultural, political and social meaning)
This is a baby who lives in a nice home and is cared for. She has nice furnishings in her room which suggests that the consumers of Aptamil formula are working/middle class families. The advert also suggests this baby was breast fed up to six months old in line with the governments efforts to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. The furnishings look quite neutral but predominantly British or of a Western Culture. We can see beyond this frame and imagine the family of this baby with a professional father and caring mother.
Intertexuality (individual perception)
Memories and experiences of my own upbringing and bringing up my own children will will fill in all the gaps in this advertisement. I can picture mum and baby going to baby yoga classes and being strapped into the latest car seat of the latest mpv to get them there. The baby smells of Johnsons baby powder and her clothes all smell of it too. All these things from my own experiences filling in the gaps of the story even though they’re not present.