Advertising Photography – Allyn Salomon.

Here are some of the key points I picked out from Advertising Photography by Allyn Salomon which I found thought provoking and potentially enhance my paper.

“Advertising photography at its best represents something attractive to the public, not because it ‘manipulates’ but because it makes us ‘visually aware’.” (Salomon, 1982: 10).

“Those photographs that sell a product, a company, a service by direct allusion go unrecognized as independent art products beyond the client’s marketing goals.” (Salomon, 1982: 10).

  • interesting point but not relevant here. Advertising photography as an art form?

“One might go as far as to assume that the buyer’s interest is less in response to the product than to the visual experience.” (Salomon, 1982: 13).

“The photograph is created through your lights and through your eyes. A client is buying your eyes.”(Salomon, 1982: 47).

  • Remember this is a point about the photographer rather an the audience of an advertisement. Contradicts point from previous book about the camera that sees.

“You have to outwit the reader, the viewer. You have to strike him with an image that will stand out from the clutter. If it’s a clean, strong, graphic image, I think the person will stop and look at it”. (Perweiler, 1982 cited in Salomon, 1982: 54).

“If the photograph and the words say the same thing, then someone has wasted some effort.” (Glinn, 1982 cited in Salomon, 1982: 127).

“A photograph explodes on you. It surrounds you. Everything it has, it offers simultaneously. You should be able to smell the place from the photograph.” (Glinn, 1982 cited in Salomon, 1982: 127).

“What I photograph is the truth, and yet it is an embellished truth.” (Ardiles-Arce, 1982 cited in Salomon, 1982: 130).

  • Shoots interiors, talks of how he would make a room look more exciting.

This book was very similar to The World’s Best Advertising Photography by Dean Saunders as it included work from various advertising photographers and their thoughts and opinions. At first, I intended to only look at the ‘technique of advertising photography’ chapter but thought it would be a huge missed opportunity not to learn from these experiences of advertising photographers. Not all work seemed so related to advertising however I was still able to draw out some points which I could possibly draw upon and use within my paper.

Firstly Salomon discusses “advertising photography at its best represents something attractive to the public, not because it ‘manipulates’ but because it makes us ‘visually aware’.” This is a contradicting point to my argument but it’s stimulating to consider all the same. However, it did leave me a little confused to draw a conclusion from it – how does advertising photography making something attractive, make us visually aware? I personally feel by making it attractive is slightly manipulative in the way that this is done, however I can understand the point being made about making us visually aware as often we know that the product is being portrayed in the best possible light – we just do not know how, which is manipulative.

A really interesting point made by Salomon is “one might go as far as to assume that the buyer’s interest is less in response to the product than to the visual experience.” (Salomon, 1982: 13). I think this is a fair argument as with the amount of manipulations hazing our view of photographs within advertisements, the consumer begins to fall for these rather than the actual product they are being sold. It’s not just about the product any more – it’s about emotion, what it can offer us, our ideal image, ect. The visual experience plays one of the biggest parts of an advertisement as it is what attracts the consumer’s attention in the first place – with the advert being so wrapped up in this, it is no wonder that the consumer also becomes wrapped up in this too. I think this would be a good point to conclude the argument in my paper.

Something I also liked was a point made by Burt Glinn. “If the photograph and the words say the same thing, then someone has wasted some effort.” (Glinn, 1982 cited in Salomon, 1982: 127). I both agree and disagree with this point as what would be the point in reflecting the same message in the photograph and text of an advertisement? The viewer does not want to become ‘bored’ by the repetition of information. However, I also feel that if the text is used effectively it will work really well with the image but also it can be used to reinforce the ideas and message being shared through the photograph.

As I have already collated a fair amount of quotes and key points to include in my paper, I feel I may only be taking the one point away from this book to support my argument. However, I also think it would be interesting to revisit this book in detail and examine the work of advertising photographs and their thoughts and opinions as this is so engaging.

Salomon, A. (1982) Advertising Photography. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on January 26, 2015.

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