This Is Not An Apple

Aug 23, 2016 / Day Job & the Practical / art vocabulary words / spreadsheets

Have you looked at a photograph and said, “Why would anyone photograph that?”

Usually when this happens, it’s because we’re missing the connotation.

So let’s recap a bit. Denotation are all those things that are shown -in- a photograph. Anything printed on a piece of paper or shown onscreen like the image itself, the title, and the caption–these are all denotations.

Connotations then are all those things that normally would be left unsaid. Anything that is implied, where you have to äóìread between the linesäóù - that’s connotation. What is not said is just as important is what is said.

Photographs without a connotation are too shallow. They are boring. They are one dimensional. But if you were to combine denotation and connotation, you create a fuller message of a photograph.

The same rules apply for spreadsheets. You really need to have denotation and connotation to be in sync. They should help and not contradict each other.

In the graph that I presented last week, the denotation was

New York leads in paying artists for their work

What is the connotation? What am I implying, what is really the subject?

Artists don’t starve.

I am curious how artists make it these days. If I were to become a full-time fine artist, would I starve? This graph is one small step to debunking the starving artist myth for me. Artists are not poor. Artists don’t have to be poor. They are just like the rest of the population.

So when you look at a spreadsheet, think about denotation and connotation. What is the creator really saying? Read between the lines.

About the Author

Jonah Calinawan

Hello! I’m Jonah Calinawan, an accountant, artist, and mythologist. I create cyanotype art that makes you think and feeds the soul and write about the quest for a meaningful life through art and mythology.

On August 6, 2020, a night-time dream led me to pursue a Ph.D. in Mythology with a special emphasis on Depth Psychology. I don’t know how grad school connects to my art and writing, but I’m willing to find out. Subscribe for updates.

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