Researching Methods: Waterloo

Using qualitative and quantitative research methodologies  I documented artifacts and peoples movements around Waterloo station. Using simple deconstruction methods, I was able to analyze and

IMG_5635.JPG.jpegreflect on my findings, to put them into context and in turn – apply to my field of study.

From the photograph above, I was able to distinguish primary and secondary elements of the photograph to make a snap judgement of different elements, but also to combine this with secondary knowledge to provide a deeper insight into the photograph.

For instance, the contrast between in focus and out of focus figures – in motion and static, married with their personal choice of clothing. The man sat on the bench can be read into; his body language, the clothes he wears, the way his bag is slung across the floor.


Body Language: Slouching far back in his seat has a psychological theory behind it.

“It tells people that you’re bored, feeling lazy, unmotivated, and are dispassionate about what’s being said.” Amy Hoidas. (2011). Body Language in a Professional Setting: What Your Cues Reveal About You. Available: Last accessed 20th Oct 2016.

Analyzing this man and his body language, backed up by other elements of the photograph I can start to depict why he is sitting this way; perhaps he is waiting for a train or his train has been delayed. He could be waiting for someone to pick him up from the station and its cold outside. (signified by the coat and the hat). He has his phone in one hand – which could be seen as a distraction from the present. A time-waster, messaging a friend or tracking more precise train times. It starts to become obvious that the idea of time is linked to his man. Be it waiting for it to pass or waiting for an event to take place. 

Clothing: From the clothing he is wearing, it could be seen as a signifier into the time of day and temperature of inside or outside of the building. Or it could just indicate elements of his own personality. Mornings are generally starting to get colder in October (month the photo was taken). We know his from previous knowledge but it could also be backed up by the fact this gentleman is in a hat and coat. However, contradicting this I will go further to see that he is the only person within the photograph to be wearing a hat. Expanding on this, he is one of very few elderly people within the frame – meaning he could get colder than the average person due to old age. 

Motion / Static: 

There is a clear distinction between the people in motion and people who are static. My first piece of analysis regarding this theme is ‘time’. After looking into the image it becomes clear the setting is within a train station, using previous knowledge – I know this as Waterloo Station, London. Comparing the clear separation and differentiation of the man sitting on the bench to the man in suit and tie on the right hand side – we notice they are using time in very different ways and future I can start to understand that they are at very different points of their days. The blurred man, clearly in motion can be seen with a suit, tie and a briefcase – which is a clear and obvious sign of a working man. In motion and from previous analysis regarding the time of day – a conclusion could be drawn that he is on his way to work. 


Typography: Pret gives us a very obvious clue to where this photograph has been taken – but lets forget this for a while and look into more visual / typographical clues that hint to the setting the photograph has been taken within. The typeface that has been used is something that I’ve seen a numerous amount of times in the past. signageIt’s a San Serif type, very clean and easy distinguishable. The designer has picked this for obvious reasons – these numbers represent something that need to be easily accessed without any confusion. After doing some secondary research I now understand the typeface used is ‘Rail Alphabet’ designed by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert especially for British Railways in the 1960s. The typeface has now been newly digitised and is present within a vast array of weights.  

Applying to Field of Study:

The analytical methodologies used within this exercise of using denotative and connotative expressions to look further into a particular image are really useful in order to dive deeper into the meaning of an image as a whole, or individual items within a photograph or image. Applying this to my field of study will be really useful – looking into contemporary propaganda, some have social, environmental or even political connotations within them – at first maybe hard to understand all at glace.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s