Assignment 4 – Research – Judith Williamson’s advertising articles

Although it was recommended to read Williamson’s advertising articles in the course intro, I was put off by the subscription fee for Source Magazine.  With a subscription to BJP, the cost of books on the reading list, printing and other costs, the course is turning out to be quite expensive. To that end, I’ve only been able to find one of her advertising articles online which is on the OCA website (see below).

  • At the outset, Williamson uses a single punchy sentence to set the scene and describe the image “This Apple ad presents an image of illumination”.
  • This is followed immediately by a brief description of the formal denotative elements which leads nicely into an interpretation of the light reflecting in the child’s eyes.
  • This is the first essay on a photograph that I’ve found which uses some of the terminology that I feel expected to use in my own essay.
  • The article is very opinionated and lacks the ‘critical’ approach that I feel is necessary. The image is dissected in a subjective way and advertising in general is being mocked.  The author even uses made-up words (cod-verse) to describe the accompanying text.
  • The author offers some very interesting interpretations of the elements within the scene such as the angle of the product and the references to ‘enlightenment’.
  • The author uses the working conditions of the Apple manufacturers to add context, but these conditions are probably unbeknownst to the average viewer. However, this insight does help to analyse the accompanying text.
  • Unlike other examples of essays that I’ve read, there is nothing in the way of counter-argument or opinion.

The article was a very interesting and informative read. Despite highlighting good practice for the deconstruction of an image, I feel that it actually serves as an example of how not to write a ‘critical’ essay due to the excessive personal opinion that is aired.


Williamson, J. (No date). Apple. Available at (accessed 31/03/16)


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