Professional Advertising Photography – Dave Saunders.

To begin with, I struggled to distinguish how this book would be useful however the more I got into it, the more I realised it was helpful in terms of giving alternate views from advertising companies and photographers.

P6: The most potent photography is more than a mirror of life. It is a magnifying glass. It freezes a moment so that we ‘see’ it more clearly, sometimes for the first time. It isn’t just about reality, it is about capturing the essence of a product or situation.” (Abbott, 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 6).

“The camera can indeed lie, or more accurately, the photograph can.” (Abbott, 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 7).

“A successful advertising photograph will stop people in their tracks.” (Saunders, 1988: 8).

“For an advertising picture to leap out from a two-dimensional poster or page in a magazine, and compete in a three-dimensional world, it must fight for the reader’s attention”. (Saunders, 1988: 24).

“Advertising must understand the audience it aims to reach, and talk to them in a language they can relate to.” (Saunders, 1988: 24).

“Successful advertising begins with a lot of hard work. Otherwise you will run the risk of skidding about on the slippery surface of irrelevant brilliance.” (Ogilvy 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 25).

“Research has shown that photographs with an element of story appeal are far above average in attracting attention.” (Ogilvy 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 25).

“Photographs attract more readers, are more believable and better remembered than drawings.” (Ogilvy 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 25).

“Sometimes the different elements that go together to make an ad are nothing special in themselves; the photography is a technical means to an end.” (Godfrey, 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 25).

“Because of the romanticised image the photograph portrays, a real blue sky or sunset could not be used because of the restrictions on cigarette advertising. We smeared the sky with Vaseline and turned it white. The sky then became surreal, therefore not real, and consequently acceptable to the Advertising Standards Authority.” (Fink, 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 54).

Some photographers see it as a challenge to produce the image entirely in-camera, with several exposures pieced together on one sheet of film. But if this is too complicated or costly, photo-composition or retouching will usually provide a solution.” (Saunders, 1988: 64).

“Retouching and photo-composition should not be seen as a license to make mistakes.” (Druce, 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 80).

  • What makes a classic campaign? Introduced the B&H cigarettes campaign, seen so much mentioned about B&H when looking through my books may be worth considering using this as an example?

An important introductory point was from David Abbott who stated “the camera can indeed lie, or more accurately, the photograph can.” (Abbott, 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 7). This simplifies in one sentence how the photograph can be an untrue representation. As it is brief, I would need to expand upon this in my paper but would be good to introduce the ways in which the photograph can lie to us.

Saunders comments how “advertising must understand the audience it aims to reach, and talk to them in a language they can relate to.” (Saunders, 1988: 24). This supports the point which was made by William Reedy of how there must be a certain degree of logic that the consumer can understand. The easier the advertisement is to understand, the more it will engage the viewer and persuade them to buy the product. This point also highlights the importance of knowing the target audience and how to communicate with them, again touching on emotion in advertisements and the important role it plays.

When discussing the use of narrative and story telling in my paper, I found a suitable quote from David Ogilvy whom shared “research has shown that photographs with an element of story appeal are far above average in attracting attention.” (Ogilvy 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 25). This nicely introduces the paragraph topic and supports how successful using narrative within advertisements can be in terms of attracting the consumer, even though it is creating that mythical ‘world of advertisement’ mentioned by Judith Williamson. Ogilvy also stated how “photographs attract more readers, are more believable and better remembered than drawings.” (Ogilvy 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 25). This draws upon what was previously mentioned by Jib Fowles and how photography has become more useful for ‘advertising’s mission’ over hand drawn images. It is again touching upon the subject of the truth within photographs and how there is so much manipulation within images that they no longer have a true representation, hence the importance of exploring this in my paper.

In terms of manipulation with the aesthetics of the photograph, Graham Fink, when discussing an image used within advertising explains, “because of the romanticised image the photograph portrays, a real blue sky or sunset could not be used because of the restrictions on cigarette advertising. We smeared the sky with Vaseline and turned it white. The sky then became surreal, therefore not real, and consequently acceptable to the Advertising Standards Authority.” (Fink, 1988 cited in Saunders, 1988: 54). This was really thought provoking as because the editing of the image was deemed acceptable by the ASA, this was essentially glorifying making something untrue acceptable. Is this fair? Or is it a shortcut to avoid the ever evolving question of the authenticity of photographs?

Despite my initial hesitations, this book actually worked out really useful. With quotes and comments from advertisers and photographers, I was able to make connections between my books and their opinions and build on these to form a solid argument for my paper. I think there are some interesting quotes to take away and include in my essay even if it is just used to introduce a particular paragraph.

Saunders, D. (1988). Professional Advertising Photography. 1st edn. London: Merehurst Press.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on January 25, 2015.

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