Understanding representation

My task was to present three photographic images for three different target audiences: Mr. Westrip my Headteacher, my grandma and my boyfriend. To do this I had to think about representation and stereotype for each audience. Representation is the signs, symbols and codes that communicate what something is like, such as objects, attire and gestures. Stereotype is when society judges or categorises people by there appearance. People can be represented in different ways using varied settings, clothes, gestures, make-up and hairstyles according to what you are trying to portray.

Such as a nail varnish advertisement I annotated in class I looked at the way the model and her setting and props reveal the product and target audience. The nail varnish was called ‘Jet-Set’ so they put the model in a jet so in the consumers mind they connect the two and the fact that it is a speed dry nail varnish. The model and her gestures convey who the target audience is. The model is young, female, professional and confident this was shown in her appearance, she is wearing sophisticated clothing and has a slick hairstyle and immaculate make-up.

This gives her a very professional look and the manner in which she has her head up high and appears to be looking down at you as if she is superior. Also when she is placed in the jet she is positioned as the pilot not the passenger showing that she is in control of things. This displays the type of person the product is aimed at people who are like this or want to be like this. Individuals are represented differently to different people to reach a certain group of people. This is usually according to stereotype, stereotype is used as an aid in advertising and advertisers rely on their consumers to recognise them.

For example if you were aiming your product at teenagers you might include the latest gadgets and music to entice them in your advertisement. Before taking my pictures I had to plan them first taking all these things into consideration. Whilst planning my sketch for my image aimed at Mr. Westrip I had to think of how to present myself to my Headteacher and what he would like the pupils within his school to give the impression of being. I thought I would be shown as hard working, intelligent, organised, smart and responsible.

Therefore in my drawing I used the library as my setting with intellectual looking books and me wearing glasses as people wearing glasses a lot of the time are regarded as clever. I also decided to wear the correct uniform and no make-up as a result seeming smart and organised. In addition I intended to wear my hair in two bunches a standard hairstyle for a schoolgirl and my prefect badge to demonstrate my responsibility. When I took the actual photo a few adjustments were made according to the situation.

I decided against sitting at a table for the picture instead I chose to take it standing up as I changed mind and wore a huge rucksack for a better effect because one of the school rules is we should wear a big sturdy bag to fit all our books. Plus I changed the hairstyle as when taking the pictures I had a limited amount of time, for that reason I could not do my hair in my intended style. I used a digital camera to take the picture it was taken from behind as if I was unaware that the picture was being taken thus making it look more genuine.

I additionally used Adobe Photoshop to edit and manipulate it using levels and hue/saturation to brighten and improve the image and bring attention to certain parts of the image such as the books and the big rucksack. For the picture aimed at the grandma in my sketch I drew my background as a garden with flowers, trees etc. to mirror the stereotypical view that grandma’s love gardening. I decided to wear a pastel coloured cardigan and flower print flowing skirt in any of these colours; pink, purple and white as white usually symbolises purity.

Furthermore grandmas generally like girls to dress girly like they did when they were young. I made up my mind to wear my hair in pigtails and hold a teddy bear as this depicts innocence and to wear a dig smile to show that I am happy. In the real photograph I compromised some things that were not possible like having flowers in the background as we did not have a place with flowers I held one. I changed my hairstyle due to lack of time and wore a pastel coloured fop with a white sleeveless button up top. With Photoshop I used selection and hue/saturation to make the trees and plants look more vivid.

In the last picture I planned to take my image on a plain background because I didn’t think the background would make much difference. I chose to have my hair partly covering my face and wear mascara to create an alluring image of me. I also decided to wear clothes that my body and accentuate the parts of my body I like and hide the bits I don’t. In the definite photo I used levels and hue/saturation to enhance the image on Photoshop. In conclusion I learnt that representation and stereotype are important within media and how it is used. If I were to do it again I would pace myself during the practical and use my time wisely.