Semiotic Analysis of Barack Obama in Time Magazine

Topics: African American, Barack Obama, United States Pages: 4 (1578 words) Published: March 31, 2013
The front cover of TIME magazine, issued on December 10, 2007 was taken before the start of the presidential campaign in America, and the man on the front cover is Barack Obama – who was a favourite at the time. The bias of the picture, the cover’s anchorage and the article altogether show that the underlying purpose of this magazine’s issue was to influence readers to side with TIME and vote for this man. This cover resembles a famous picture taken of Martin Luther King Junior and serves to link Obama with the American Civil-Rights hero in order to influence the reader’s position towards Obama. This cover can be seen as a metaphor of the rise of the African American in society, as well as politics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation (Oxford dictionary) and will be used to unveil the hidden meaning behind this front cover. This is a picture of a black man in a suit, who is standing upright with has his arms crossed. This man is neither smiling, nor is he frowning and is not looking directly at the camera. The background is multiple shadings of grey. The word “TIME”, as well as the anchorage is in white, and words “the contender” are in red. The outside rim of the magazine is also red, with a white border between the picture and the red rim. Obama’s suit gives off an impression that he is polished, prepared and serious. Obama’s suit also commands a sense of respect from the reader and a sense that he has etiquette as well as control. The man’s facial expression is neutral – which gives off the impression that he is stable, reliable and somewhat loyal. This is effective because one sees this control and presumes that this man is secure in who he is (he feels no need to make false pretences) and thus one can trust him with their vote in the coming presidential elections. The man’s upright posture illustrates a sense of strength because he looks anchored and thus powerful. The man is not looking...

References: BarackObama. Biography.2010. [O] Available: Accessed on 25/03/2012
Oxford Dictionaries. 2012. [O] Available: Accessed on 27/03/2012
Tumulty, K. 2007. [O] Available:,9171,1689203-2,00.html. Accessed on 28/03/2012
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