Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘protest

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.

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Got some photos exhibited up norf

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(my images are the four along the top)

I had a nice piece of news the other day when I was told by Side Gallery up in Newcastle that they had decided to include four of my photographs from my Light Data series in their current exhibition on protest photography. It’s called A Luta Continua [Trans: The Struggle Continues]. As it’s all the way up norf I haven’t actually seen my photographs in situ proper as of yet, but I will be going up in May. Presenting work by established photographers alongside citizen journalism of recent protest events (ie me & other newer photographers), the exhibition attempts to place protest photography in history and document (& question) its development as a reporting method. To quote Side Gallery’s website:

“Who documents history? Why do they record events? For whom do they risk their livelihoods or lives in doing so? These are subjects of change and evolution: it is no longer the exclusive territory of a (usually) white Western male photojournalist to tell it as it is . The making of the news, the telling of the news and the interpretation of the news, are becoming activities in which all of us are involved. This is not without its inherent problems: it is just as easy to lie, or to misinform, as it is to champion the truth through our ever inter-related techno-driven world. Then there is the question of quality, partiality and impartiality: are the representations of the professional journalist more honest, valuable or insightful than those of the citizen journalist.”


I’m thoroughly aware of the limitations of the photographs that I made of the protests against the rises in UK university fees in late 2010. My lacklustre planning and foresight meant that the only images that I took where at the protests themselves and so did not place the visuals I had made of  fire, (inevitable) chaos, and (justified) anger in context at all. As a future warning to myself I wanted to use the photos to make an essay that really demonstrates how a group of images, taken without proper consideration, can be potentially really skew one’s impression of an event and the people involved. I’ve now put those images together into an essay called ‘Light Data’. I think it compliments the angle that Side Gallery decided to take in their recent exhibition. Check it out and let me know what you think.

On another note the gallery has recently just lost all of its arts council funding which is pretty serious. It’s a really old institution (opened in 1977) and is the only gallery in the country which is fully dedicated to documentary photography. As this is obviously quite an awful thing please sign their petition to get the Arts Council to recognise that they have made an immense, immense mistake