Oh, Assignment 4…
I’ve had SO much trouble landing on an idea for this that I’m happy enough with. I still haven’t. I’ve been thinking of ideas since before I started the Advertising section but have pretty much fallen out with every idea I’ve had.
What I want to do here is to summarise my objectives, the various ideas I’ve had (pros and cons) and where that leaves me in terms of refining what I DO want to do the assignment on.
In summary, the objective of Assignment 4 is to produce seven images for a calendar (cover page plus 6x 2-months-per-page).
If I’m following the brief (and I usually do, though this is one of my problems…) then there are a few key criteria that should be met:
- Client is ‘a company that I find interesting which creates a calendar product for a market that I can relate to’
- With ‘past imagery’ that I can look at and decide its relevance to the current market
- Calendar is creative and ‘does not revolve around featuring the product’
- Must also include the company logo and strapline, if there is one
I have developed a few key considerations for this that may to may not converge on one idea; I may need to prioritise between contradictory criteria.
- I want be more creative than I have been in the first three assignments
- I’m disappointed in my own work so far on this course, it’s a little pedestrian
- If I’m not wowing myself, I don’t expect anyone else to be overly impressed…
- So I want to be more visually experimental
- I want to apply what I’ve learned on the Advertising section of the course
- I’ve learned things in this section that I’ve found really fascinating – the authorial nature of advertising work, with such deep and well-defined ‘meanings’ embedded in advertising photos – it’s almost an art in itself (or maybe a science…)
- I’m particularly keen on the notion of implicit messages – the ‘clever’ ads where the viewer has to make the connection between the image and the brand message – the effective use of visual language impresses me
- I’ve looked at other students’ work and think that for the most part, people have unfortunately missed the opportunity to really apply this kind of knowledge (there are a lot of local cause / charity type calendars are perfectly pleasant but show limited use of visual advertising techniques)
- I want the subject matter to be something that I am genuinely interested in
- And I’m trying to think about this as widely as possible!
Ideas so far
I’ve had several ideas that have stuck around for various lengths of time before I rejected them, and it’s in the rejection reasons that I’ve been refining the criteria above. So some of these are closer to being ‘right’ than others (but to repeat: I’m not fully happy with any of them!). In order of when they occurred to me:
1. Rob Townsend Photography
My initial idea was to go all off-piste and instead of doing it on an existing brand, to do it on my (so far imaginary) photography business. I was planning to use it as a showcase for some creative imagery of my own choosing
The visual twist was to be that the calendar text (i.e. month name, days, dates) would be incorporated into the images in-camera, e.g. written in pen on someone’s skin, printed on a t-shirt, on a wall as graffiti, etc.
Pro: creative/experimental; passes the (self-)interest test
Con: ignores large parts of the brief (almost all of it); self-indulgent; kind of cheating
Or any bookseller, to be fair. – the concept is really based around reading books and I needed a brand to hang it off.
The idea was close-ups of people holding books (hardback, no dust cover, so can’t tell what the book is), with drawings on their fingers that allude to the title/contents of the book they are reading – so it’s a kind of visual puzzle. The significance of using the fingers is to connote the physical feel of reading a real book rather than an e-book.
Pro: creative; uses some visual advertising techniques; I am interested in books; I like the ‘visual puzzle’ aspect
Con: I’m not sure I can think of enough different executions!
3. Five a Day
For a while I thought a social cause would be more interesting than a company, so I was brainstorming around healthy eating and in particular the advice to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day.
The pitch was that you should ‘reach out for your five a day’ and I planned to set up shots where a piece of fruit or veg would replace a common object that a person was reaching for (e.g. banana for a door handle, a strawberry for a light pull, carrot slices for coins, etc).
Pro: reasonably creative, visually; applies advertising techniques
Con: I realised that it’s VERY similar to my Assignment 2 concept, which also featured food surreally inserted into everyday scenes – so too much self-plagiarism
4. Nice Memorial
The city of Nice has been my second home for about 15 years and I was quite affected when the Bastille Day attack happened, and again when I visited Nice recently and saw the memorials still covering parts of the city.
The concept was to produce a calendar with the twin aims of restoring the city’s tourist reputation and commemorating the 86 people who died in the attack. The idea was to produce classic scenes of Nice (beach, promenade, old town shutters etc) with the names of the victims subtly included in each image.
Pro: creative; area of passionate interest for me
Con: no real advertising techniques involved; tricky balance to achieve in terms of tone; if the secondary memorial message is too subtle, it’s just ‘pretty pictures’
I went full circle back to the brief to think about what brands I am particularly invested in. I narrowed it down to Apple and Leica, then rejected the former as it has such a distinctive and long-standing minimalist aesthetic that they are just too well-known. So I settled on Leica.
I intended to produce a set of images that depict the kind of photos one might take with a Leica (street, portrait, photojournalism, abstract etc) and that each one would have a red dot somewhere in the image (red dot denoting the Leica logo). Secondarily, I wanted the content of the images to connote Leica brand values, such as precision, heritage, quality etc.
Pro: fits the brief well; uses advertising techniques; allows me to be creative with the images themselves (very meta)
Con: I’d need to capture or create seven really great images that would do the brand justice, and I’m unsure of my ability to do this in the short time available! and it’s not quite as ‘clever’ as I’d like…
I’m still looking for a better idea than any of these five, in particular an idea that lends itself to implicit messaging, my current fascination.
In the meantime, I might throw this out to other students for comment, and/or send this list to my tutor for any feedback and direction…