Impact– Photography for Advertising – William A. Reedy.

These are the key points and quotes I noted from Impact- Photography for Advertising by William A. Reedy.

“A photograph for advertising use is usually only a steppingstone to the printed reproduction which actually carries the message to the public.” (Reedy, 1973: 7).

“Because photography is such a versatile medium, and because so many effects can be achieved by judicious manipulation of the medium, any objective evaluation must take into consideration the purpose and story line of the picture.” (Reedy, 1973: 7).

“To set a mood, an illustration must have a certain degree of logic. It should be simple enough to be understandable. And, above all, it should be visually pleasing to encourage the eye to linger. One cannot tell his story if the guest refuses to stay around long enough to listen.” (Reedy, 1973: 18).

“The mood of an advertising illustration must provide an atmosphere of pleasure if there is to be a climate for persuasion.” (Reedy, 1973: 22).

“It is not necessary for the viewer to know anything at all about photography to appreciate and find pleasure in photographic values” (Reedy, 1973: 22).

“The camera does not record what the eye sees. The camera records what the camera sees, and these are not the same things. The camera must not only be led to water, it must be forced to drink.” (Reedy, 1973: 22).

“the use of symbols rather than literal objects as properties in building the picture very frequently will be amusing and intriguing to the viewer, and invite more lingering and thorough attention” (Reedy, 1973: 30).

“It is the highly visible persuader, unabashedly designed to intrigue, describe and, if not exaggerate, at least further the purpose without undue modesty. (Reedy, 1973: 39).

Good quote about beauty in advertising on p39.

“The photographic image can be tortured, twisted, and altered to the point where the subject is no longer recognizable……it might be fun, but it is not communication.” (Reedy, 1973: 172).

“When such special effects are further the story and enhance the purpose of the picture, they are helpful in extending the versatility of the medium.” (Reedy, 1973: 172).

“a brilliant piece of technical trickery should not be condoned as a substitute for a sound illustrative idea.” (Reedy, 1973: 172).

“The ingenious trick may catch the eye; but if it does nothing more, it can fail in its purpose.” (Reedy, 1973: 172).

I really enjoyed this book and found it quite easy to understand which is really useful for my research, especially as getting my head around advertising when it is completely new to me could become complicated at times.

One key point I picked out by Reedy is “to set a mood, an illustration must have a certain degree of logic. It should be simple enough to be understandable. And, above all, it should be visually pleasing to encourage the eye to linger. One cannot tell his story if the guest refuses to stay around long enough to listen.” (Reedy, 1973: 18). To begin with, I couldn’t distinguish whether this was relevant t my argument however the more I thought about it, the more I was able to comprehend what Reedy was suggesting. Such as, when the illustration/photograph becomes unrealistic and not necessarily understandable therefore that degree of logic is lost for the consumer. Also, if the consumer can comprehend the logic, it means essentially they can understand the advertisement and would be more inclined to purchase the product. The quote also made me think of Jeff Weiss again and how he believes an advert should slap you, similar to how Reedy believes the advertisement has to be interesting enough to grab the consumer and entice them. If they are not captured instantly, that moment where the consumer will take in everything the advertisement has to offer will be lost and advertisement ‘fails’.

I didn’t expect when reading this book to be learning technical things about photography such as high key and low key which I didn’t feel particularly familiar with before hand. The book also discusses pleasure coming from the photograph aesthetically such as through the use of light and sharpness in the image before it becomes even better through the use of narrative. It is not just about what the photograph tells you, the composition and quality of the photograph is just as important.

The symbols paragraph also really helped me visualise how the signifiers and signified work within the image which I found really useful. It clarified and made me more confident with my knowledge of advertisements. Reedy highlights “the use of symbols rather than literal objects as properties in building the picture very frequently will be amusing and intriguing to the viewer, and invite more lingering and thorough attention” (Reedy, 1973: 30). This suggests that the construction and composition of the signifiers will result in the meaning of the signified becoming more interesting and enticing for the consumer which is key for advertisements. Now I have a better understanding of this and points to support it, I believe it will work well in my paper to include information about the signifier and signified as it plays a crucial part in photographs used in advertising.

Finally I also found liked how Reedy drew upon how “the photographic image can be tortured, twisted, and altered to the point where the subject is no longer recognisable…it might be fun, but it is not communication.” (Reedy, 1973: 172). He appreciates the extent to which digital manipulation can be taken, to the point where something is no longer comprehensive and explains that this does not act as a form of communication. I personally feel that it doesn’t have to be taken to the point of being unrecognisable to no longer be able to communicate. I think the communication between an image and a viewer can be lost once it is noticeably untrue and in adverts this can result in a failure for the advert in terms of connecting to the consumer.

I have enjoyed reading this book and think I have drawn some good points from it which I may be able to include in my paper, particularly clarifying that I should include a paragraph about the signifier and signified and how important it is within photographs in adverts.

Reedy, W. (1973). Impact – Photography for Advertising. 1st edn. Rochester, New York: Eastman Kodak Company.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on January 25, 2015.

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