Who is this man holding a cactus? you may ask. Or perhaps you may think, wow, that’s an awkward image. Or some may even say oh hey Michael Cera, what you doing with that cactus?
Despite your possible confusion and questioning of why I am posting a picture of Michael Cera holding a cactus, I want to pose a question. What is this image? You may think it seems like a simple question but in reality it isn’t necessarily.
You see, this image can mean many different things to many different people. When looking at the study of semiotics, each person has different cultural or social backgrounds, or even a variety of experiences which influence them to see and decode this image differently. Simply, there is no correct way to interpret this image.
Despite there being no correct way to interpret this image, this being the connotations, There is a correct way of seeing this image, or, in better language, we all see the same image, this is its denotation. This images denotation is a man holding a cactus and looking out to the desert with a pensive stare. That is what the image represents, without adding meaning or any other knowledge or background. However, when we begin looking at this particular images connotations, things begin to differ.
As earlier stated, to some this may just be a man with a cactus. Although, to others they may notice that is in fact Actor Michael Cera holding a cactus. This creates a different meaning to those who know he is an actor due to their different experiences of maybe seeing him in a film. They may begin to think of this image as a photoshoot, or a promotion for a movie, instead of just a photo of a random man with a cactus, like those who don’t have the context of him being an actor may interpret. To add a different meaning entirely, someone may have the knowledge of the landscape behind the image, and to them it begins to look like a place they know, and a whole different interpretation arises. To me personally, I see this image as a perfect example of Michael Cera. It profoundly encapsulates his awkwardness and everything surrounding it. As you can see, the image of this man holding a cactus can be read in a multitude of ways, due to the extent of peoples knowledge about the man himself, or even the landscape of which the image is set.
Hopefully it is now clear of why I am discussing an image of Michael Cera holding a cactus.