Assignment 4: theme decision

After much thought, discussion with other students and finally some good old-fashioned mocking up images, I have arrived at a decision on the theme for the calendar assignment.

Yesterday I summarised the various ideas I’d shortlisted so far and my concerns with each of them.

Fellow student Stephanie made an excellent (and retrospectively obvious) suggestion that I should start mocking up executions for some of the ideas to see where that led me. A couple of other students suggested going with what was most personally interesting as this should be reflected in the final outcome. Three people specifically said that my proposal for the Nice calendar sounded worth pursuing as it was evidently something important to me.

To recap on what I wrote about the Nice idea yesterday:

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 mocked up two images for this. Note you need to see the pictures large to see the secondary meaning, so click on one for an enlarged view.

The lightbulb moment came when I realised I was pondering whether the ‘cons’ of this idea were showstoppers or things that I could work around, justify or subvert – if I’m trying to diminish the downside, I’m talking myself into it! I wasn’t doing this for the other four ideas. This is the one that has ‘grabbed’ me.

I appreciate that it isn’t going to employ many of the ‘clever’ advertising techniques that I’ve admired in my recent research, but I’m OK with this. I harbour no desire to become an advertising photographer, so I feel justified in bending the brief slightly to align with what I want to do here.

Statement of intent

(first draft to send to my tutor)

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.

Two months on, the mood in the city is a delicate balance between grief, defiance and optimism; the city is simultaneously trying to rebuild its reputation as a tourist destination and honouring the 86 victims of the atrocity.

I gave myself the fictional brief to produce a calendar for the Nice Tourism Board with two overt objectives:

  • Restore Nice’s tourism reputation
    • By reminding people of how beautiful, friendly, welcoming and joyful Nice is
  • Honour, and raise funds in aid of the families of, the 86 victims
    •  By naming them in the images, in a discreet and respectful way

The communication objectives are in three ‘layers’:

  • First reaction: I want viewers to see aesthetically pleasing scenes (‘pretty pictures’)
  • Second reaction: then look closer and see the dedications inscribed in each image
  • Third reaction: I want there to be connoted meanings in the images, pertaining to emotional responses to the incident, e.g. loss, grief, defiance, optimism, peace, harmony, love etc

This does mean that getting the tone right will be extremely important, and a very delicate balance will need to be struck. I think it can be done.

Next steps

  • Email statement of intent to tutor
  • Sort through remaining images from trip to Nice earlier this month
  • Sort a follow-up trip if needed
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