Thought bubble

Media Myth-busting 1: The image cannot lie

Is a picture really worth 1000 words?

*This article may contain distressing images, viewer discretion is advised*

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words but we both know that’s a lie. One thousand words is an overtly righteous understatement!

Can we even put a number on it?

My point being, an image cannot be restricted or limited to a number of words as each and every person will have a varied interpretation; depending on factors such as personal context, level of noise surrounding them and the communication method used to view the sign or image.

A Spanish artist by the name of Luis Quiles has formulated art works that have been described as “empathetic portrayals of reality” (Art Fido, 2014). He has combined his passion for art and illustrations with his growing trepidations and forebodings for this sex and media crazed society. Earth porm, an online forum goes on to describe Quiles’ work as “Raw and blunt”, these words are quite accurate portrayals of his work if you ask me! His artworks mirror the “undiscussed truths” of a disturbed and anxious filled society. Similarly He parallels this notion of the underlying threats of the advances in technology just like in the 18th century with the introduction of gothic horror by writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Anna ward Radcliff in response to the industrial revolutions and technological advancements. These objectives add to the allure of what is being signified or rather what is being “evoked in the minds”(Turnbull, 2015) of the audience.

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Artwork “I-phonekkake”:courtesy of {}

A sign and/or image consist of two main components the denotation (what is actually there) and the connotation (what it means)” (Turnbull, 2015). At first glance this artwork shows a wide-eyed young lady surrounded by men pressing their mobile devices up against the young ladies face who seems unfazed by their actions. One blogger comments and says “the images appear innocent, until you look a little closer and see what’s really going on”(Earth porm, 2014). Literally what I was thinking! Clearly there is deeper meaning than what is portrayed.

Through his work Quiles has had the ability to heighten viewers emotions by sparking feelings of disgust, horror, terror and anguish. These images represent a genuine issue as he explains, “We should seriously ask ourselves if we are controlling technology or technology is controlling us. Sometimes we look like a piece of flesh engaged to a phone”. The image has been further described as “not so far fetched” as we are all aware of the issue but choose to ignore it. Prolonged exposure to sexual content and other graphic images have consequently desensitised society as our tolerance levels have increased (ASAP science 2013). The stimulating nature of the provocative collection of images provide a grotesque interpretation of the effects of social media or rather how WE have articulated, constituted and allowed the media to show such content.

The image is riddled with subliminal messages and embodies the likes of a pornographic movie. The title of the artwork “i-phonekkake ” comes from the merging of two words ‘iPhone’ and ‘Bukkake” (I had to Google what Bukkake meant also it’s not a good idea to click on images before Knowing what it is!!; It originated in Japan in the 1980’s and it is a “sex act portrayed in pornographic films where several men ejaculate on a woman”) Quiles goes on to say “I have chosen the image of a Bukkake because it comes from a nature of punishment and submission”. That’s right you’ve just been hit with another 50 shades of grey reference!

A favourite subject of Quiles artworks are his references to Japanese pop culture, the young girls attire exemplifies these ideas. The wide-eyes represent the “feminised, vulnerable and child-like audience” (Turnbull 2015) that the media has thought about its audience for centuries. This notion of youthfulness is further characterised by the colour of her blouse “white is a colour of absolute transparency and transcendence”(Gabrielle Chanel) a colour pure in nature.

Japanese pop culture is notorious for its obsession with social media and technological advances. The connotations of instantaneous and constant bombardment of social media manifests through the use of dominating white males that represent the creators of these social media platforms. These subtle sexist references elevate our morbid curiosity and “shed light on topics that society has dismissed” overtime.

All in all, I think I’ve proven my point; all images and signs are complex in nature and thus can have infinite definitions and interpretations!

This is Monica grace and you have just been graced by Monica!


Artist Creates Controversial Illustrations That Mirror the Ugly Side of Society | artFido’s Blog. 2015. Artist Creates Controversial Illustrations That Mirror the Ugly Side of Society | artFido’s Blog. [ONLINE] Available at:

Spanish Artist Reveals The Ugly Side Of Society In Controversial Illustrations. 2015. Spanish Artist Reveals The Ugly Side Of Society In Controversial Illustrations. [ONLINE] Available at:

The Science of Pornography Addiction (SFW) – YouTube. 2015. The Science of Pornography Addiction (SFW) – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at:

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4 thoughts on “Thought bubble

  1. Hello Monica!
    I love the image that you chose, it totally interprets how society is technologically impaled. The image does show how we are all are literally trapped in competition of social media network sites in the way we communicate. I feel that your information on the image is great and you have presented it well in the idea of what is signified with background information of the image. I see the image as a way of forcing phone usage to the younger generation particularly those of Japanese culture who all want the next best technological advancement.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Monica,

    The image you have used for this blog post is great! It is a clever interpretation of the immense dependence society has over technology. You have discussed many views and meanings behind this image and have really attempted to cover every possible aspect. I think your initial point addressing the reality of meanings in images is great; “an image cannot be restricted or limited to a number of words as each and every person will have a varied interpretation”. I favoured your points on the ‘youthfulness’ of the girl in the image through your clever interpretations you adressed of her clothing and facial expressions. I do agree with your interpretations and believe it represents how technology is forced upon us.. whether we like it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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