I’m a person who has always been interested in interesting people who say or make interesting things. Advertising used to be melting pot of these kind of people. Not so much anymore. I believe the art of short film making is where all the interesting stuff is being conceived and beaten into shape on laptops all around the world – sometimes on a shoestring budget. Historically, the price of producing slick audio-visual projects were prohibitively expensive and only the most dedicated – or maddest, pick your superlative – had the endurance to bring their visions to fruition. Today, thanks to affordable technology, the price of entry to this once exclusive club has dropped to almost zero. The only investment required is a belief in your own ability to make interesting things. That’s the good news. The bad news is you have to make or say something very, very, very interesting to break through the tsunami of sameness that infests our creative culture today. These films, I believe, are a good representation of what can be achieved creatively if one sets out with a good idea to start with – something that resonates with us as empathetic human beings. The film “Reach” by Luke Randall is a good example of storytelling that pulls on heart strings as well as electronic cables. Many people believe that technology is changing us and that we must keep up with technological change if we want to stay relevant. Rubbish. Our human responses to authenticity has always been the same – for countless generations. These films are authentic. That’s why they work so well. Artifice can only get you so far. Creativity about is building things that ring true. Short films used to be a “calling card” while prospecting for bigger projects. I believe they are now a standalone art form in and of themselves. Hope you agree. Enjoy.
Photographer Ari Versluis and profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek have worked together since October 1994. Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, they have systematically documented numerous identities over the last 19 years. Rotterdam’s heterogeneous, multicultural street scene remains a major source of inspiration for Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, although since 1998 they have also worked in many cities abroad. They call their series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people’s attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element.
Wim van Sinderen, Senior Curator
Museum of Photography, The Hague
Link to site: Exactitudes®.
Again, not exactly within the remit of this blog, but good ideas are always worth sharing. I love advertising ideas that take what is familiar about our world and turn them into the unfamiliar. These kind of ideas grab our attention and makes us re-evaluate our preconceived notions and biases that we all possess: in this particular case; the plight of the homeless. The ‘Big Idea’ in advertising has unfortunately fallen out of favour due to the relentless onslaught from digital marketing platforms that favour the rather ominously titled ‘Big Data’ ; where algorithms, instead of the art of seduction, are employed by advertisers to separate you from your hard-earned cash. More’s the pity. Ideas that have a powerful insight can literally move mountains. The conceptual art director of the above campaign, David Milligan-Croft, came up with an idea that moved hearts. And minds. And ultimately wallets. That takes talent. Talent that is, sadly, hemorrhaging from the business on a daily basis. To be replaced by – robots
Alas, it is not an idyllic croft by the ocean…
…but, a roof.
Over my head.
And, on days like today, when it’s blowing a howling gale and lashing with rain, it makes one feel all the more grateful.
Apparently, there are about 380,000 people in Britain who don’t have this luxury.
When I lived in Ireland I worked on a guerilla campaign for a homeless charity called Focus Ireland. The idea was based on using the plaques where famous people lived and doctoring them, using real people’s names, and placing them on the streets where homeless people slept rough. The concept being: Everyone has a right to a home.
It was hugely successful in terms of raising money and awareness.
N.B. Plaques in Ireland are brown unlike the blue ones in the UK.
Not strictly a post about photography – but this is too good not to share. Everybody is saying advertising is dead. But reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated – and animator, Alvise Avati, proves it. A master class in how advertising should be conceived, written, directed and produced. Everything starts with an authentic insight – however small. Written and directed by Avati – he does a brilliant job in bringing this insight to life. That was the good news – the bad news is that no brand manger approved this; and sad to say, probably never would. The commercial exists exclusively to showcase the talents of Avati and the London based production company, but in the process, it has highlighted how banal and uninspiring the ad business has become. Brand managers and their creative agencies take note.