Today mechanically reproduced imagery is available for everyone. Some may say that it has devalued photography with the ability of a DSLR to quickly in succession take a picture and with one click of a button discard the unwanted photo. In this blog, I will run through briefly Lifestyle Photography, Realism, Authenticity, Snap-shop Aesthetics in Advertising.
I would suggest the opposite I would say it has enabled a more visual representation to be circulated by consumers and unleased a freedom of visual representation that before was held by only professional photographers. Of course, social media has played a part in this mass circulation of imagery with Instagram, in particular, being at the forefront of such circulation and gives a whole new concept to Snap-shot Aesthetics which came into existence through the arrival of the Kodak handheld camera.
So what has this got to do with advertising? Well, advertisers don’t set trends they simply follow them. If one was to look back on advertising from previous eras you can see a shift in the defined lines between social documentary photography and the peddling of a fantasy, which was at the forefront of the photographic imagery used and designed by advertisers.
On one side documentary photography represented truth and on the other advertising represented an unreal world where glamourous models showed us the joy of objects and housewife’s where so elated by the new objects in their well-kept home (labour-saving machines) 1950s advertising not so politically correct.
Advertising has moved on (thank god) and now we have a self-reflective nature in the imagery used to peddle objects to consumers. Advertisers are now using the same techniques that dwelled in the realm of realism. Lifestyle shots of consumers carrying out mundane everyday acts (lifestyle shots) can be seen on TV and in magazines.
It was in magazines where lifestyle photography become prevalent. I have to give a special mention to Corinne Day who in my opinion had a major influence of the photographic style in magazines in the early nineties (Kath Moss) and today we can see these lifestyle designed shots throughout the major magazines of the world.
Lifestyle photography or authenticity style imagery can be traced back to the Golden ages of Dutch Art in the 1600s where scenes of everyday life where depicted. Further along, we can trace the great work of Social Documentary photographers such as Lewis Kline, Walker Evans and my favourite Weegee.
One cannot overlook the impact that Robert Franks had with snap-shot aesthetics with his book published in 1958 contained amazing imagery from his road trip through post-war America.
Today we see the style of great practitioners of documentary photographers everywhere in advertising and this in itself is a genre, a style to be framed, used, designed and influence our future purchase decisions as it connects with us on a deeper level than the overused fantasy world of advertising from past eras with lifestyle photography.
A little blog about how good photos are not always a result of chance