Project · Narrative · Martin shield’s image

Narrative · Analysis of Martin Shield’s image (no title)

The denotive elements of Shield’s image, by Steve young.

  • two lads with footballs under their arms walking arm over each others shoulder with back facing the camera
  • one lad has a stripped T-shirt, the other a plain coloured one but they both wear white shorts
  • There is a bit of rubbish on the ground just in front of the boys
  • the mid-ground is empty, apart from a grass field area which connects to the background where there are houses.
  • the left side of the image shows the road running along the left side of the frame up to infinity.
  • a grey sky looms over the scene which takes up about one fifth of the overall image
  • the boys appear in the middle lower part of the frame and they are clearly the foreground main focal point to the photo
Connotations of the image – inferred
  • two boys in harmony, after having played a game of football. They are satisfied and happy
  • the area where they live looks run down and probably has a working class connection to the overall photo
  • the photo essentially tells us about the friendship between the two boys and that their friendship transcends their perhaps relatively poor background. They have a connection through a shared interest and shared age range.
  • the image suggests that what is of value is human connection and this can be found in any circumstances
What other students have said from the course:


    • The image was taken so that the tenement buildings stretch into the distance.
    • Knowing people from Glasgow and having visited them, this looks typical Glaswegian council housing stock that has fallen into disrepair.
    • There is only one lamp-post.
    • The pavements and open spaces/possibly once grassy areas also look as if they have seen better days.
    • Two young boys, in the foreground, walk away from the camera arms around each others shoulders. They are in the centre of the frame.
    • They are facing towards each other conversing.
    • The boys are wearing clean, rival football kits, (no coats) possibly Celtic and Rangers, who have a fierce rivalry. They both carry a ball each.
    • One boy has a number 10 on his shirt.
    • Hard to tell due to the quality of the image, but the skies look typical, grey and overcast as there are no deep contrasts or shadows.


    • This is a poorer working class area and the two boys are from working class backgrounds.
    • Despite the obvious rivalry of the teams they support they are good friends, suggesting a close-knit community or stronger bond beyond friendship.
    • The cleanliness of the kit implies they are just setting out to play.
    • The separate footballs could imply they are going to play in different games and that there is some form of divide between them.
    • The number 10 could be his age.
    • No coats suggest a warm summer’s day.
    • The lack of lighting could suggest danger at night.
    • The fact they are in the centre of the frame suggests that they are important – children signify hope for the future?
    • The cloudy sky could suggest problems lie ahead – maybe the houses are to be torn down and the boys will lose their friendship if re-housed?



Two young friends from rival football teams
Walking through a rundown area
Possibly on their way back from playing a match
They are in the very front of the image’s depth, with the path ahead stretching out in front of them


That there are prospects for peace in a place divided by sectarian tension [my guess was Glasgow from the striped kit]
That the journey to peace starts with this generation
That the path ahead might be long and difficult


    • Denotations:
      Two young boys, about 11 years old
       Friends, comrades, both on their way to play football (they are still very clean)
      Walking through a poor, dilapidated area, I assume that they live here themselves, but the image doesn’t make that clear
       The flats are empty and deserted, in decay.The boys are walking on the grass, next to a road.
       It’s a cloudy summer day.
    • Connotations:
    • Even though you live in poverty, sports bring people together and build friendships
       Together you are much stronger than alone
      Together you can face decay and be able to put your mind on other things
       Every child has the right and need to play, this is universal and makes the viewer connect with the boys, even if they are from a different socio-economical background


Two boys with footballs.
Smiling with friendship, this can be seen in their raised cheek bones.
Rough waste ground.
Boarded up derelict houses in the background.
The boys have a football each, and support different teams, one stripes one a solid colour, this cannot be identified fully due to the black and white.

The image looks like it is set in a run down area of Glasgow.
The boys would appear to be a Celtic and a Rangers fans, this is muted and not as obvious as it would be in colour.
The boys may have gone out alone as they are both carrying footballs but are going away as friends.
Strong sectarian divide between the two football teams, Catholic and Protestant united by the younger generation.
The road running along the edge of the frame in their direction of travel could denote that they have a long way to go yet, the road is long and never-ending.
The rough ground they are on cold tell us that it is a long and bumpy path they have to travel.
Their friendship and happiness, their willingness to unite could be their way out of the area they live.
They are walking away from us as though to say we have a bond and a friendship


They are both of about the same age: -/+ 10 yrs old.
They are wearing different clean outfits – may be from opposing teams?
They are on their way to a football match – they are too clean for coming from a match.
They both carry a football but they are different.
They are walking on rough ground.
There are no trees or live plants visible.
There is 1 street lamp.
They are walking behind what may be blocks of social housing.
The low wall they are walking next to is not new & is crumbling away.
Some of the windows in the blocks of flats look boarded up.
The photo was taken early this century.
The photo is in B&W.

Published by Truevisionphotography

I'm a student photographer studying through the OCA a UK based arts university. I'm in the foundation year of my studies and enjoying it immensely. I'm also a yoga teacher and co-founder of Bodhiyoga a buddhism based yoga teacher training program that runs in the UK and Spain each year. As a photographer I'm interested in all forms of fine art. I find the arts really important in my life. I love nature and aim to be in the outdoors as much as I can. Generally I think that all the different strands of my life are flowing to towards self development in the greatest sense of the term. The arts, buddhist practice yoga and meditation are all tools to that end. I feel committed to communication the these values in the world both through the visual arts as well as teaching.

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