The second level of our analysis deals with the study of the morphological level of the image. Here we follow proposals put forward by various authors of a fairly heterogeneous nature, since we are discussing concepts that may seem simple on the surface, but are of a certain complexity. As we will see, certain notions such as the dot, line, plane, space, scale or colour are not purely “material”, as they often simultaneously participate in the morphologic, dynamic, scalar and compositional condition of the image. This first level of analysis lays out the subjective nature of analytical work in which, despite aiming to adopt a descriptive perspective, evaluative considerations begin to creep in. In this vein, we should assume that all analysis involves a projective operation, especially in the analysis of an isolated fixed image, and that it is very difficult to contemplate a search for the mechanisms for the production of meaning of the simple or singular elements that make up the image without a general idea in the form of a hypothesis, on the overall interpretation of the photographic text.
With reference to the Gestalt theories of image, it should be remembered that every act of perception involves a series of innate perceptual laws, such as the “figure-ground law”, the “law of closure” or the “law of good shape or succinctness”, which point in this direction. In sum, the understanding of an iconic text is holistic, in that the meaning of the parts of the image or of its simple elements is determined by a certain idea of totality. It should also be pointed out that in the field of the image, these simple elements we refer to are not simple units without meaning. In this vein, it is worth highlighting one of the main problems in image analysis: the absence of a double articulation of levels, unlike natural languages.
As Benveniste and Martinet explain, natural languages have a finite set of minimum units without meaning –phonemes–, that allow the articulation of a second level of language formed by minimum units with meaning –morphemes–, which have an elevated number of combinations. In the case of iconic language, it is impossible to establish the existence of equivalent levels, or anything that would enable us to speak precisely of a morphological level, of a “visual alphabet” in the strictest sense, on which to construct one syntactic level and a second semantic-pragmatic level. In the case of audiovisual texts, there is an even more patent need than in other languages to recognise the absence of a frontier between form and content that actually work as a continuum on which it is impossible to identify where one finishes and the other starts.
POINTS TO ANALYSE