The intersemiotic affordances of photography and poetry
School of Business and Law
© 2020 De Gruyter Mouton. All rights reserved. This article explores the intersemiotic affordances of photography and poetry and the expansion of meaning that surpasses the meanings embedded in and elicited from both. We specifically investigate the processes and mechanisms of this semantic expansion by systematically reconstructing the compositional process of poems written from three photographs and forensically investigate how the poems emerged out of each visual frame. We discovered that intersemiosis between photography and poetry demonstrates a strong interpretative component. Intra-semiotic connections between elements within the photograph are interpreted by the viewer or writer and are translated by means of inter-semiotic triggers into intra-semiotic connections within the emerging poem during the process of composition. The resulting inter-semiotic connections between the photograph and the poem create and multiply meaning for both mediums together and independently. In other words, in the process of composition, the poem reads the meanings of components of the photograph framed by the photographer and super-frames them; creating a new frame of meanings that draw upon, and extend, meanings in the original frame of the photograph. At the same time, the poem enters a stage of self-change and self-reflection, inhabiting the life of the photograph.