Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



The article discusses the use of “symbolic photographs”  – images in news reporting which have no direct connection to reported events – in news reporting. Such images deviate not only from the self-professed journalistic norm of factual reporting but also fundamentally challenge the act of civic eyewitnessing constitutive for visual journalism. Concepts of floating and empty signifiers from Discourse Theory are applied to “symbolic photographs” to analyse their ambivalent act of signification, their particular mode of iconicity and, by extension, the journalistic and political implications of their repetitive use.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Derrida, Jacques
    1976Of Grammatology. London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. 1988Limited Inc. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. 2002Without Alibi. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. 2007 “A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event.” Critical Inquiry33(2): 441–461. 10.1086/511506
    https://doi.org/10.1086/511506 [Google Scholar]
  5. Griffin, Michael
    1999 “The Great War Photographs.” InPicturing the Past, ed. byBonnie Brennen and Hanno Hardt, 121–157. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. 2012 “Images from Nowhere: Visuality and News in 21st Century Media.” InVisual Cultures: A Transatlantic Perspective, ed. byVolker Depkat and Meike Zwingenberger, 159–189. Heidelberg: Universitaetsverlag Winter.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Hariman, Robert, and John Lucaites
    2007No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Laclau, Ernesto
    1990New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time. London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. 1996 “The Death and Resurrection of the Theory of Ideology.” Journal of Political Ideologies1(3): 201–220. 10.1080/13569319608420738
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13569319608420738 [Google Scholar]
  10. 2007Emancipation(s). London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe
    1985Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Lucy, Niall
    2004A Derrida Dictionary. New York: Wiley. 10.1002/9780470775752
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470775752 [Google Scholar]
  13. Machin, David
    2004 “Building the World’s Visual Language: The Increasing Global Importance of Image Banks in Corporate Media.” Visual Communication3(3): 316–336. 10.1177/1470357204045785
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1470357204045785 [Google Scholar]
  14. Machin, David, and Adam Jaworski
    2006 “Archive Video Footage in News: Creating Likeness and Index of the Phenomenal World.” Visual Communication5(3): 354–366. 10.1177/1470357206068464
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1470357206068464 [Google Scholar]
  15. Perlmutter, David
    1998Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Icons of Outrage in International Crises. London: Praeger.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Sekula, Allan
    1982 “On the Invention of Photographic Meaning.” InThinking Photography, ed. byVictor Burgin, 84–109. Houndmills: Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑1‑349‑16716‑6_5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-16716-6_5 [Google Scholar]
  17. Stavrakakis, Yannis
    1999Lacan and the Political. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Šumič, Jelica
    2004 “Anachronism of Emancipation or Fidelity to Politics.” InLaclau: A Critical Reader, ed. bySimon Critchley and Oliver Marchart, 182–198. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Tomanić Trivundža, Ilija
    2015Press Photography and Visual Framing of News. Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Vezvonik, Andreja, and Ljiljana Šarić
    2020 “Subjectless Images: Visualization of Migrants in Croatian and Slovenian Public Broadcasters’ Online News.” Social Semiotics30(2): 168–190. 10.1080/10350330.2018.1541117
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2018.1541117 [Google Scholar]
  21. Vobič, Igor, and Ilija Tomanić Trivundža
    2015 “The Tyranny of the Empty Frame.” Journalism Practice, 9(4): 502–519. 10.1080/17512786.2015.1030137
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2015.1030137 [Google Scholar]
  22. Waisbord, Silvio
    2018 “The Elective Affinity between Post-truth Communication and Populist Politics.” Communication Research and Practice4(1): 17–34. 10.1080/22041451.2018.1428928
    https://doi.org/10.1080/22041451.2018.1428928 [Google Scholar]
  23. Zarzycka, Marta, and Martijn Kleppe
    2013 “Awards, Archives, and Affects: Tropes in the World Press Photo Contest 2009–11.” Media, Culture & Society35(8): 977–995. 10.1177/0163443713501933
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443713501933 [Google Scholar]
  24. Zelizer, Barbie
    2007 “On ‘Having Been There’: ‘Eyewitnessing’ as a Journalistic Key Word.” Critical Studies in Media Communication24(5): 408–428. 10.1080/07393180701694614
    https://doi.org/10.1080/07393180701694614 [Google Scholar]
  25. 2010About to Die: How News Images Move the Public. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error