Assignment Four: Advertising

As an advertising-based photographer you would usually work for an agency. The agency would produce the concept and the art direction for you to follow. It would be up to you to provide models, stylist, hairdressing, make-up, travel to a location or a studio to carry out the photography. There are occasions, especially in hard financial times, when clients decide to work in-house with their own marketing team and they will use you as a visualiser for the ideas that they generate or ask for a visually led contribution from you at a creative meeting.

This assignment is intended to simulate these circumstances.

Develop and produce images for a calendar. The calendar should show two months on each page so you’ll need six in total. You’ll also need a seventh image for the cover.

The images may be used separately for advertising on billboards so they need to be suitable for this format also.

Research a company that you find interesting which creates a calendar product for a market that you can relate to. Provide a company profile and make comments in your learning log or blog regarding their use of images. Look to see if the past imagery is relevant to the current market and demographic or if there have been changes that need to be reflected in the new imagery.

Produce an exciting and creative calendar that does not revolve around featuring the product.

Provided that you keep the company’s market identity in mind, the nature of the calendar is up to you. It could be fine art-based, funny, serious, romantic or off the wall. The choice is yours.

If the company has a slogan or strap line that it includes in its images, you’ll have to accommodate that on each page, suitably placed on the image. You must also include the company logo. Advertising imagery can be very obscure and often doesn’t include any of the product. Therefore to identify the calendar as a company product viewers will need the logo, even in the market that the images are intended for.

Will you use the company’s usual typeface or will you choose a different typeface that supports the aesthetic you’re aiming for?

Remember:

  • Carefully research previous examples of the company’s advertising and promotion.
  • Analyse examples of rival marketing and advertising campaigns by other brands; this may help develop your direction.

Include evidence of your research in your assignment submission.

Before you start shooting, produce a statement of intent of up to 250 words and email this to your tutor.

Statement of Intent

I’m never going to be an advertising photographer, as I’m never going to be a commercial photographic artist, being too old to start a new career now, so to produce a calendar to advertise a product is anathema to me, I’ve chosen instead to expand the guidelines for the brief to take in a cause(s).  At the same time I want to provide a vehicle that allows me to show that images can be interpreted in different ways simply by using them in another context.

This section has also introduced concepts that I don’t feel I’ve explored enough in the sections they came into and therefore I want to expand upon them a little more within this assignment.  Conceptual art, surrealism, portraiture, as well as the advertising value of the images I’ve made.  To that end I’m producing two calendars using the same images in each, but hopefully with a different interpretation, both controversial in their own way, both hopefully highlighting the cause and probably shocking.

The first cause is that of men who suffer from physical abuse within a relationship, be that a heterosexual relationship, or a same-sex relationship.  The other showing a male perspective of post menstrual syndrome with a humorous twist that will no doubt offend many women.

Of the 2,100,000 reports of domestic violence that the police recorded in 2014, somewhere in the region of 720, 000 were of those where men reported violence against themselves from abusive partners.  This figure goes unnoticed by the public at large, interest being focused on violence against women within a relationship.  Being of a somewhat quirky nature I decided to make this the subject of my assignment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ManKind_Initiative

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1310349/Why-think-battered-men-wimps.html

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/abuse/Pages/domestic-violence-against-men.aspx

No matter what your position is regarding the manliness of the victims the fact remains that they are victims, the same as any woman in a similar, but much more highly publicised, position.  The fact is that very little attention is paid to the plight of these men and as a result the resources that are available for victims of domestic violence and abuse are concentrated on the accepted norm of this aggression, women.

The images I portray on the following pages are clearly constructed, but are never-the-less based on actual injuries sustained by victims.  Clearly I’ve taken the extremes of the injuries that have been caused, as they make better images than those where the injuries appear less distressing, an unfortunate need when highlighting this cause.

To me, the fact that images portraying this subject are appearing in a calendar are surreal.   Many causes produce calendars to promote themselves, even though they probably don’t generate much in the way of profit, and in fact I doubt that many, if any, of these would be sold or displayed even if they were purchased due to the upsetting nature of their content. Certainly the second calendar would not receive houseroom from any female members of society, and I wouldn’t blame them, this not being a political statement of my position on this issue, it’s just a way of showing that the same images can have different interpretations.  The pages of the second calendar are in fact based upon an advertising campaign that was run in the U.S.A. where it was roundly condemned and hastily withdrawn with many humble apologies from the chauvinistic product manufacturers.

The fact that I used myself as the model throughout this assignment was due to a number of reasons.  I had problems finding six men who were prepared to sit as subjects with fake, made-up, injuries painted on them.  The second is that selfies are a current phenomena that are seeing a great resurgence of appeal and it’s an area I’d like to investigate further in my work.

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