It is worth emphasizing that there is no single or ‘correct’ answer to this question, ‘What does this image mean?’ or ‘What is this ad saying?’ Since there is no law which can guarantee that things will have ‘one, true meaning’, or that meanings won’t change over time, work in thi area is bound to be interpretative – a debate between, not who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’, but between equally plausible, though sometimes competing and contesting, meanings and interpretations. The best way to ‘settle’ such contested readings is to look again at the concrete example and try to justify one’s ‘reading’ in detail in relation to the actual practices and forms of signification used, and what meanings they seem to you to be producing.
Stuart Hall, “Introduction”. In S. Hall (ed.), “Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: SAGE Publishing, p. 9.