Question 7

Question 7: Advertising and Photography. In the Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord explores the idea that in a consumer society, social life is not about living but about having and appearing. Discuss how photography in advertising works to encourage us to consume, and the importance of appearance.

Annika Salzmann-Webb
BA Hons Photography
Module Number: PHOT10058
Seminar Tutor: Katie Streton
Word Count: 2,736
Contents page:
Page 1: Title Page
Page 2: Contents Page
Page 3: Introduction
Page 3-4: Guy Debord’s
Page 4-5: Fernando Decillis
Page 5-7: Jean-Yves Lemoigne
Page 7: Nori Inoguchi
Page 7-9: Makeup advertising
Page 9: Timothy Hogan
Page 10-11: Riccardo Bagnoli
Page 11-12: Giovanni Moran
Page 12-13: Conclusion
Page 14-15: Bibliography
Advertising today hugely impacts our lives as it plays an important role to which we can determine an image and way of life and its impact on our thinking as well as on the attitude towards ourselves and the world around us, Photographic imagery is used to sell things to us as well as the apparatus of photography are on sale as commodities. Anandi Ramamurthy an Author has suggested that it is due to the fact that advertising photographs are not seen as creative in their own right, but rather as parasitic on groundbreaking work. Advertising shows us ready forms of behaviour in a certain situation.

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However, Photography can actually provide us with the knowledge that anything we see with the naked eye is impossible to see through in a photo, such as the speeding bullets, the shattering of glass, and dripping liquid, zooming into the microscopic worlds of insects, crystals, the human blood stream, bacteria and viruses which are invisible to the naked eye. Through this many companies were able to develop the idea of advertising and begun to advertise their products by remaking them into new adverts and getting new ideas from the past.”The notion that a moment could be captured in time in such microscopic detail, so true to life with elements remembered that were not even noticed at the time, completely adapted the way we record, report and remember both noteworthy and insignificant events. ”
Photography has had such a vast impact on society nowadays because the media has manipulated many people’s attitudes and their behaviour has changed due to graphic contents and violence breaking out. At the present time when going out with friends or going out in restaurants instead of eating you’re food straight away or enjoying the look you now are forced to greet the arrival of their food with a few excited clicks of their phone to capture the food on you’re plate for posterity and to show off to you’re jealous friends. A few years ago people would have looked at you in a confused manor and raised their eyebrows. Guy Debord’s book Society of the Spectacle is a book in which he explores the idea and examines the “Spectacle,” Debord’s term for the everyday manifestation of capitalist-driven phenomena is advertising, television, film, and celebrity. Debora describes the spectacle as capitalism’s instrument for distracting and pacifying the masses due to the fact that it can always be found on every screen that you look at. When walking outside or exploring the web advertisements is pictured everywhere you go on every corner that you look at, the spectacle reduces the possibility of a reality to an endless supply of fragments while encouraging us to focus on appearances, as he has said in the book he finds it to be an unacceptable “degradation” of our lives.
Images have unfortunately, influence our lives and beliefs on a daily basis, advertising manufactures new desires and aspirations and the media interprets the world for us with the use of simple narratives. As sad as it is, we use media every day because of either GPS’s and maps without even consciously realizing it. It goes to show that our lives are now organized and dominated by the needs of the ruling economy, as said in thesis 30 ‘The alienations of the spectator to the profit of the contemplated object is expressed in the following way: The more the spectator contemplates the less he lives; the more he accepts recognizing himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and desires.”
From my research I have discovered that there are actually some very successful advertising photographers such as Fernando Decillis who is an Atlanta-based photographer who specialises in advertising and documentary projects. He was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and is well known for taking photos of people from all walks of life, much of his award-winning photography teases a humanistic beauty out of common situations.
His pictures are of extraordinary in execution and subtle in imposition. In fact he has been very successful in campaign work with companies such as Coca-Cola, Reebok, Wild Turkey Bourbon, and many more. His work has been featured in publications such as Ad Week, Smithsonian Magazine, CNN and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Much of his work consists of famous people who the companies know will attract people to their brands. People believe the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words such as I do, but Fernando’s work values the worth of: “which words?”
Figure 1: ‘Aquila & Sofia Vergara’, 2017, Colombia
In the picture above we can see that the photo he has taken is for the brand Aguila which is the best known and loved beer brand in Colombia. I feel that their brand reaches the spirit of youth, national pride and fun. In order for them to sell their products so quickly and with pride they have decided to partner with Colombia’s biggest celebrities and footballers to turn any ordinary situation into a party such as Sofia Vergara who is fun, lively, beautiful and Colombian and perfect for the part as her success in the global and American mainstream is a point of pride for Colombia.
Another photographer is Jean-Yves Lemoigne who is a French photographer who lives in New York and Paris. He works for companies such as DDB, BBH, EuroRSCG, Saatchi&Saatchi, BBDO, TBWA, and Wieden & Kennedy. Many of his surrealistic photos turn our boring everyday life into another dimension, as he uses his imagination to create new and exciting adverts by creating surrealist images that elevate every day into the extraordinary and the mundane into the magical. Throughout his work you are introduced into the idea of lots of colours, dynamic and often humorous work which catches the eye and captures the imagination. His work is usually quite vibrant and full of life hence why many companies such as Volkswagen, IKEA, Axe, Audi, Visa, Citroën, Orange, Perrier, Standard Life, Evian, ITV, Stella Artois and Channel 4 want him to work with them.
left303847500In the IKEA advert below it is mainly for a sort of family audience as its message is trying to show how you’re life will be if you buy furniture from IKEA which will make your children allot happier and have fun bonding with their family, if you think about it every event that happens in our lives is usually captured so that you are able to relive the moment, however, before advertising became such a big think everyone just had to use their imagination and use their memories. We even experience feelings of nostalgia when we see images from previous times that can be completely unknown and almost foreign to us.

When examining the photography-based advertising that exists in magazines, newspapers, billboards, and online, there is a new set of rules for companies that seek to register with an appeal to the new digital age audience. The glossy, glamorized approach to print advertising still exists, but it has been remixed with more organic, social-media and pop-culture inspired imagery. Advertising in photography was pretty much first introduced in 1800 through old magazines, then in the 1920s, the industrial movement changed how people saw and used advertising and begun the work of how to make it stand out even more and persuade different age groups. It was the industrial movement in the 1920s that led to the emphasis on advertising and exploration of new methods to make products stand out among the newly competitive consumer market.
Another photographer is Nori Inoguchi a man who was born in Japan and worked in New York in which he developed his love for photography and had the desire to create visually stunning images, which inspired him to become a still-life photographer. Throughout his images his perspective was to find beauty in all of the objects he shoots, he has had the opportunity to take many photos based on campaigns for makeup, everyday products, clothing and accessories. For example, in his picture above for Olay as we can see It is a cosmetic brand mainly used for you’re face in which it also has a slogan saying ‘Younger looking skin’ which possibly emphasises the idea that when buying this product you look and feel a lot younger. Even though this isn’t possible many women have this feeling that the only way they can be beautiful is to buy this brand hence why it is so popular with older women.
As we can see advertising campaigns for cosmetics are usually aimed at women wishing to improve their appearance, commonly to increase physical attractiveness and reduce the signs of ageing. Brands like to rely on celebrities to sell their beauty products making people think, “If the product is good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.” Women feel pressure to meet an idealized beauty standard, cosmetic advertisements that offer women the opportunity to live up to that standard can be highly effective, encouraging more cosmetic purchases.
Figure 2: Olay Advert,
Advertising has shifted to reflect what consumers are used to seeing, ‘liking’ and sharing things instead now. Ads can portray a sense of intimacy without being overly raw or exploiting sexuality. One theme of digital age advertising is the remixing of real with the surreal, which is appropriated from pre-digital age themes. In magazines and adverts they show a myth of advertising and show an almost faked view upon the world and try to make it seem as if there was a type of heroic commodities and fabulous lives enhanced and fulfilled through purchase and consumption. Bringing in Ideas of fantasy, romance and whimsy are typically geared towards the female consumer who has been indoctrinated with a fairy tale princess mentality through all art and media forms.
Nowadays advertising reflects a completely different view calling it the digital age that has created a visual culture, craving immediacy, authenticity and allure. Glamour and beauty are still put on a pedestal, but advertisers are increasingly remixing styles and themes to create a more organic vibe. When a photograph is successful, it truly affects us, gives us pure raw emotions and becomes more poetic than the most heartfelt prose. It is vital in photographs that the people in the adverts are shown to be different and individual, although the idea of the campaign is to encourage, as many consumers as possible to shop at the same supermarket, like a lot of advertisement it uses the myth of individuality to do this. Food advertisement companies try and promote the idea that the product has been created naturally, however when seeing an item of food majority of the time the products are fake to make it seem natural.
Timothy Hogan is a still-life photographer who’s based in Los Angeles he has done shoots worldwide for a selection of international brands and advertising agencies in the beverage, technology, fragrance and design industries. He has worked for Budweiser, Tommy Hilfiger, Beats Audio, Chanel, Calvin Klein, and Target. His photos remind us of how the simplicity of objects can become in their own way, beautiful masterpieces, his work can be very dramatic, and his images are filled with a wealth of symbols and a vivid play of colours and lighting. However his pictures of the Gin is pretty much advertising the fact that if you drink gin you will have a good evening, not only is it promoting fun it is also promoting drinking which isn’t a great advert for anyone, regardless of their age, alcohol advertising is the promotion of alcoholic beverages by alcohol producers through a variety of media.

Alcohol advertising is one of the most highly regulated forms of marketing because of these type of adverts they demonstrate a correlation between alcohol beverage advertising and alcohol consumption, especially among initially non-drinking youth.

Figure 3: Gordon’s Gin
Riccardo Bagnoli is an Italian photographer based in Boston, Massachusetts who specifically works in advertising, fashion and portrait photography, most of his photos look like moments from a sci-fi movie, where humans are born from reptilian eggs and where startling superpowers are revealed. He has been lucky enough to have worked with companies such as Sony, Pringles, Sundek Swimwear, Polo Ralph Lauren, Chrysler, Buttero, SunSilk, Volkswagen, SHS Clothing, and many more. The picture below is called Sundek surf wear it is shot in Cape Town, South Africa, in which it features surfers hatching from eggs, emphasising the coming out of the new Sundek surf wear.
Figure 4: Sundeck, Surf wears, April 2007
Commercial advertising photography means taking photos for business use, such as in advertising, merchandising, product placement and product promotion. Advertising photography is also used in corporate promotional material and leaflets, menus in cafes and restaurants, and similar marketable uses. Advertising photography is used to promote or sell products or services. Famous photographers do extremely well at commercial photography, and they are well paid. Giovanni Moran is a fine art, fashion, and portraiture artist who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, he is inspired by life-experiences, dreams, fantasies and beauty. Giovanni’s work will take you through a story, allowing the viewer to distinguish his own interpretation of his photographs, his style is a combination of surrealism and exaggerative colour manipulation. There is a parallel universe that is forever sealed in photographs or in films, influencing the real yet physical world, If you think about the connection between reality and a certain utopia, the close correction between the two is exemplified similarly in reflection throughout the dreams we have a night. Dreams become the foundation of realty, with dreams you create the very complexities of creative freedom, you format potential obstacles that inspire your senses the moment you wake up from your sleep. When you think about it you realise that when the lights go out, and you lie comfortably in your bed, you enter a deeper transition to your sleep, you enter a world to the living world, a night vision where you are the storyteller and you hold the pen to the timeline of the dream.
Figure 5: ‘The Dreamer’
Throughout my research I still kept the idea of how vast the change was on advertising and how it really effects the way we live. An advertisement let’s a consumer know that you exist, and brings your brand to a wider audience. Without any advertising print, television, online, etc. you would have only word-of-mouth to keep you afloat. Brand awareness has a neutral effect on consumers, People who view advertisements find out about your products similarly to how they find out about current events in the news. At this stage, consumers go from not knowing that your business exists to gaining awareness of your brand in the case of a future purchase.
To conclude the more research I did the more points I was able to note down about why advertising has good points but also bad points involved. The first point was that Advertising shows us forms of different behaviours in a certain situation ranging from being bad but also being good because it means that you are easily able to reach other audiences and influence them. Advertisements try to create & present a reality-construct in and around the brand. What we mean by reality-construct is a concept presented as a part of reality or real world. In other words, at the time of watching the advert the receiver is not actually critically evaluating an advert consciously or unconsciously in the following terms whether I should allow the content to go in or should I resist since it is irrelevant to me. Photography can actually provide us with the knowledge that anything we see with the naked eye is impossible to see through in a photo. I was able to deepen my understanding of why advertising is so important nowadays.
Article Title: THE ROLE OF ADVERTISING IN PROMOTING A PRODUCT, May 2014: Svetlana Frolova
Article Title: Photography & the Pervasive Influence, Ruby Beesley
URL: Title: An Illustrated Guide to Guy Debord’s ‘The Society of the Spectacle’, Tiernan Morgan ; Lauren PurjeAugust 10, 2016
URL: Title: An Illustrated Guide to Guy Debord’s ‘The Society of the Spectacle’, Tiernan Morgan & Lauren PurjeAugust 10, 2016
URL: ‘Photography’ Stephan Bull
Article Title: Fernando Decillis
URL: Title: Here’s Proof That Photography Has Changed The World, By Federico Alegria / November 1, 2016
URL: Title: Photography-Based Advertising in the Digital Age: A New System of Meaning-Making, Emily Rothkopf
URL: Title: Influence of Advertisement on Women ; the Attitude Toward Cosmetics, by Van Thompson
URL: Book ‘Photography’ Stephen Bull
Article Title: 02 Jul Few Commercial Advertising Photographers and Their Famous Product Photographs, Photographs by Mahmudur
URL: title: Wanderlust by Giovanni Moran, PUBLISHED BY DODHO MAGAZINE


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