It often said that a “picture is worth a thousand words” because of its ability to convey a complex or sophisticated idea through a visual medium. However, much like words written by a particular individual, images can be interpreted differently by each individual, based on their ideologies and the connotations and denotations created in an image.
The image featured above is part of WWF’s advertising campaign against animal cruelty. This image was highly controversial, for the shocking portrayal of a seal having seemingly pulped a baby to death. The signifies are found through the placement of a pulp in the seal’s mouth and the graphic depiction of the baby’s bloodied corpse. At first glance, it is obvious that the artists’ intention is to shock society by challenging their shared ideology that babies or young children should never be harmed. Yet, the cold and grim background connotes that the artist also shares the fore mentioned ideology and has only created this image to encourage society to reflect on the negative impacts of animal cruelty. This is in fact signified through the text at the bottom which says “Don’t treat others the way don’t want to be treated”.
Despite the undeniably graphic nature of the image, I believe that this is a clever and necessary advertisement which forces us to challenge our own ideologies and encourages us to reflect on the negative ideology of animal cruelty.