Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘communications

‘Riotous’ adverts

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Adverts aimed at younger demographics which have been taken down or postponed because they feature images of protest/youth disturbances (although they are still live on YouTube):

Levi’s latest commercial from their ‘Go Forth’ campaign

Channel 4 Summer Season

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Thomas Struth and Awesomeness

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I just checked out the Thomas Struth exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London: what an immensely brilliant experience.

To be quite honest I didn’t know a lot about the artist before I went to the exhibition but I can say that the retrospective really gives you a serious insight into the obsessions of this exceptional photographer. This guy is seriously ON IT. My favourite part of the exhibition deals with his investigation of things that we see to be worth looking at and not worth looking at.

The first floor of the exhibition is exclusively dedicated to the artist’s photographs of awesome constructions. These images are split into two parts: ones that depict the things that people queue up to wonder at, and the ones that show the things which don’t attract attention. Noticeably it is always the technological machinery that isn’t being looked at by anyone, whilst the the works of art and religious buildings are the objects that attract our most awestruck gazes. Here are some examples of what I mean:

1. Religious and artistic constructions:

Pantheon, Rome Thomas Struth

Pantheon, Rome (by Thomas Struth)

Thomas Struth San Zaccaria, Venice

San Zaccaria, Venice (by Thomas Struth)

Audience 7, Florence, 2004 Thomas Struth

Audience 7, Florence (by Thomas Struth)

2. Technological constructions:

Thomas Struth, Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island, South Korea, 2007

Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island, South Korea (by Thomas Struth)

Times Square, New York, Thomas Struth

Times Square, New York (by Thomas Struth)

Stellarator Wendelstein 7-X Detail, Max Planck IPP, Greifswald, Thomas Struth

Stellarator Wendelstein 7-X Detail, Max Planck IPP, Greifswald (by Thomas Struth)

As you can see, all of Struth’s photographs are incredibly framed. It’s really cool that the artist captures the technological constructions in a way that shows that they are as immense as the religious sites (just look at the image of the oil rig in South Korea!)

Yet Struth has also chosen to photograph these particular tech constructions mainly because no one is looking at them. As we can see in the oil rig image, there is no one queuing and both dock workers are fairly busy with other things.

Essentially Struth’s images show us power and the way it works in society by asking the simple question: why is it that we consider some things to be awesome and other things to be not? Or to put it more bluntly: these technological constructions are the ones that have been built by the powers that control our modern age (e.g. science, commercialisation and communications); why aren’t we looking at these at all?

Awesomeness. It’s a bit frightening isn’t it?

Ken dumps Barbie and Barbie gets locked up (Greenpeace’s latest protest video)

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Greenpeace have produced a YouTube video of their latest protest activity against the toy maker Mattel. In this video we find that *horror of horrors!* Ken has dumped Barbie because he is not happy that the packaging of her toys is made of paper culled from deforestation. In the subsequent PR stunt outside the Mattel HQ Barbie is eventually jailed by the Police for protesting against Ken’s claims and explains that:

“I’m Barbie, as long as I look good who cares about some tigers in some distant rainforest…”

I may be just a humble stills photographer but I take stuff like this as inspiration. This may have a nice big marketing budget behind it which has helped it become the PR stunt that it is, but at its core its just about sitting down and thinking simply about what you want to communicate, how you want to communicate it, the best location to communicate it, and pre-empting what you think the real-world effects of your activity will be and working with them (the person who knew that the Police could be manipulated to create the real-world arrest of Barbie is very, very on the ball.)

Really, really slick. And more importantly, completely sharable.

*I say thankyou to Benedict Pringle who writes the very readable and succinct Political Advertising blog for bringing this to my attention.

Stoopid advert

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Cultural stereotyping now comes in brightly coloured Japanese animation variety

Written by Max Colson

June 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Priceless – TFL’s new ‘art’ advertising campaign

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TFL lost property

A poster for Transport For London's 2011 Lost Property Campaign

A great idea is a great idea. This one comes from the field of advertising. TFL’s (Transport For London) recent art exhibition for their lost property office is very nice. Let’s break it down.

Real World Problem: The issue that TFL had was that only a few people were coming to lost property to claim stuff because they had already assumed that their property was stolen immediately after they left it on the tube (I surmise).

Creative Challenge: How does one suggest that the above isn’t true?

Creative Solution: Create an art exhibition out of the art objects left in lost property (cos let’s face it all of the electronics and clothing articles would have actually have been stolen).

This campaign is very slick because it communicates the value of the objects that end up in the lost property in a way that will appeal to a broad range of people, whilst cleverly using objects that actually don’t have any financial value (ie which are the ones that are mostly left in lost property). The power of words like ‘exhibition’ and ‘curation’ are impressive here.  As is the way that we perceive art. If you would like to see exactly how these marketing techniques work you can now actually buy posters of this unclaimed art from TFL’s shop. It is very savvy.

But more to the point who in their right mind is really going to ever give two hoots about a lost property advertising campaign unless it’s sexed up like this?

Ohhh sexy, artistic lost property. It’s very well done.