Politics of picture and ad aesthetics

Advertisements, be it photographic or videographic, tend to be more and more pictorial and glamorous as they all presume certain viewers whom, as Sangita Rayamajhi says advertisers want to “win” through the display of bodies and their parts that have associations with sex and erotica. Those audiences are won or overpowered by the power of pictures presented in the commercials as to attract them to a desired direction.

Advertisements and commercials share a large part of the mass media as they generate the largest revenue for operation of the media itself. Television has become a part of our lives and is all-pervasive in our present day society. None remains untouched by the glamour of media. Media have become the very powerful systems operating in modern society to the extent that they control society and its people. Indeed, media maintain strong nexus with knowledge and power as they have become the public domain. Media are the public, which views, observes and controls the image, and they are made up of pictures:
nowadays there is no physical public domain, and politics is not ‘of populace’. Contemporary politics is representative in both senses of the term; citizens are represented by a chosen few, and politics is represented to the public via the various media of communication. Representative political space is literally made of pictures – they constitute the public domain. (35)
So the pictures once introduced in the media, play a role of politics, for example, favouring some existing ideologies and reinforcing their norms and values through frequent broadcasting. A study of the photographs used in a Kodak’s photography guide Home Movies Made Easy, indicates how the Kodak film company has contributed to the politicisation of family life and formation of gendered ideologies through the treatment of images in media:
Kodak’s Home Movies Made Easy is one such guide, whose advice is summarized in ‘OUR FAMILY PICNIN’, starring Mom, Dad, Betsy and Butch, in a banal tale of travel, food preparation and consumption, playing games and clearing up. The family is cast in traditional roles; mother and daughter set the table and roast marshmallows, while Dad oversees the barbecue  ...
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ay nothing of picnic (48). The pictures in the public domain play certain role in changing society of the audiences, toward which the pictures or the visuals are directed. This indicates of the fact that the pictures and the visual images broadcasted in the public domain have certain power to control the society or the audience. The power of looking as described by Harltey has the power to control, objectify and define or categorize so as to put that in discipline. Such powerful look is near to what Jaques Lacan, Michael Foucault, and Laura Mulvey say “gaze.”

And advertisements are the actual platform where there is significant operation of looks with power -- or to be more precise the “gazes” -- that bring together media, commercials, body politics, power, knowledge and even the process of ideological formations, a unique politics of picture.

Before we explore the operation of “gaze” in Nepalese television advertisements, it is necessary to throw light on the difference between look and “gaze” .....

[Contents in this blog are copyrighted, no unauthorized copies are allowed]

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