I named my blog ‘Time Machine’ for a reason – a camera not only freezes a moment in time but can also explore the space-time continuum within a two-dimensional still photograph. Photographer Stephen Wilkes crafts stunning compositions of landscapes as they transition from day to night.
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Every once in a while, I post something on this blog that’s not about photography. But it is, nonetheless, a kind of snapshot. A snapshot of the marketing/advertising business that’s in serious turmoil. People who are only of the ‘money persuasion’ would guffaw at the above statement as ad spend by brand managers worldwide is off the charts: $660.88 billion forecasted for 2016. And climbing.
Someone, somewhere, is getting very rich – but somehow the business ‘feels’ poorer. I know digital marketing doyens tend to shun sappy sentiment in favour of algorithmic assuredness – but they are missing that ‘magic’ ingredient that makes our business work: Empathy. Humans are messy and irrational creatures. Machines only understand logic and binary code. A marriage made in communication hell.
Using ‘colourful’ language, marketing ‘guru’, Mark Ritson, spells out in black and white the many myths of digital marketing. Well worth an hour of your online time.
NB* I’ve just noticed the uploaded video is taking considerable time to convert. In the meantime here is the link to the original YT page: https://youtu.be/IJF7C1jvjXM
British artist Tacita Dean alludes to a quality about film that we have all but forgotten in our digitised world, namely, the artistic necessity of gestation. The immediacy that digital affords the creative process has diminished the value of an ‘interval of time’ between start and finish; where mistakes can be made, flaws are seen and incorporated, and the chemistry allowed to surprise. Digital crushes time by being efficient and economical. Digital leaves nothing to chance by banishing the ‘not knowing’ part of creativity that’s an essential ingredient of image making. Our so-called modern world demands clarity, conviction, conciseness, confidence and cost control – digital delivers all these digital left brain qualities. Ambiguity and doubt are the domain of the analog right brain – and that is where interesting things are made. Nuance.
It’s been a little over two weeks since that dreadful day when bombs ripped through the check-in area of Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station. The world’s media has long since moved on to cover other atrocities that have, sadly, become a daily occurrence in our news saturated societies. The morning after the attacks, I went to the Place de la Bourse in the centre of Brussels where people had begun laying memorials and tributes to the dead and injured. The world’s press were there in force; almost outnumbering the mourners busily showing their respects with flowers, flags, candles and chalk markings. All poignant moments were pounced upon as news cameras and microphones were shoved, indelicately, toward any display of human emotion for instantaneous consumption by a wired audience worldwide. It felt like a ‘media circus’. It felt sordid. It felt disrespectful. Amidst all the people and paraphernalia of solidarity with the victims, I started taking photographs myself; questioning my motives with each click of the camera shutter. Was I also being disrespectful by taking pictures? The images below are a selection of the photographs I took that day. Hopefully, I have captured the dignity of the day without resorting to journalistic hyperbole. It was quite moving to be among the mourners. Brussels has been my adopted home for nearly 30 years. I felt a sadness and solidarity with my fellow mourners profoundly. The Belgians, of all classes and creeds, are civilised and peaceful; they, of all people, did not deserve such an indiscriminate destruction of life. Thankfully, peace and calm is slowly returning to this vibrant and cosmopolitan city. My deepest condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the dead and injured. All images © Sean Hayes.
Ansel Adams’ famous quote about technical proficiency in photography is more apt today than ever. Camera manufactures and photography ‘gearheads’ continue to peddle a narrow narrative concerning the importance of mathematically machined photographic equipment and its importance if you want to ‘shoot like a pro’. British photographer Pennie Smith has proven otherwise. Her iconic photo of Paul Simonon smashing his guitar on stage during a show in New York City in 1979 is a perfect example of the visceral power of an imperfect photograph that is perfectly flawed. It’s out of focus and grainy. A technocrats worst nightmare. Yet it became one of the most famous images in Rock’n’Roll when used as cover art for The Clash’s London Calling album. A fuzzy photo that captures the energy and vitality of life will always win out against a sterile photo that’s perfectly sharp.
Interview with Pennie Smith via Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/showstudio-official/showstudio-punk-photography-4
I’ve always admired the work of Nadav Kander. The simple elegance of his advertising and editorial photography belies the consideration and intelligence he puts into creating some of the most compelling images in photography today. Couple his renowned photographic skills with equally considered and intelligent advertising copywriting and art direction and something interesting – and increasingly rare – happens: Your advertising gets noticed. Result. Simples. To quote recently retired adman Bob Hoffman of http://adcontrarian.blogspot.be fame; “Creative people make the ads. Everyone else makes the arrangements.”
Link to Kander’s site: http://www.nadavkander.com