Semiotics is the study of how meaning is created and communicated, originally based on signs and symbols. Semiotics are a way of guiding the viewer to an interpretation. We interpret images around us in a particular way without actually being aware of how we interpret them. In understanding meaning, the context is important. The interpretation of signs, symbols and other imagery also depends on the cultural context. Different signs, symbols and imagery can have different meanings in different places and to different people. A sign has both the signifier – which is the object, and the signified. Semiotics within visual imagery and photography involves how the image is ‘read’. In reading images, semiotics involves denotation and connotation. Denotation is about the meanings within images, it is usually the literal meaning of the image. Connotation is the meanings that people give to an image based on their cultural experiences and knowledge. It is what is implied by the image based on how the viewer interprets it.
– Semiotics explained http://www.signsalad.com/semiotics-explained/