A Perfect World?

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I posted a blog a couple of weeks ago called Contrasts which a lot of readers I have spoken to never saw and so I’m going to expand on the topic here and share the pictures again.

I recently read a book called “Can’t Buy My Love” by Jean Kilbourne which goes into detail, perhaps a bit fanatically, about the corruptive power of the advertising industry and how they create the ideal of the perfect world being available to everyone.  It relates back to what I shared from Brene Brown regarding are we good enough, do we measure up?  When the expectation is based on unrealistic ideals we will be disappointed.

Of late, I have noticed a very positive trend emerging where some adverts seem to be going back to our core values, recognizing the average not the ideal person.  For example the Dove advertising campaign not featuring sleek and glamorous models where they “Imagine a World Where Beauty is a Source of Confidence, Not Anxiety”.  

In a slightly different theme, I love the Dodge Ram advert called “Farmer“, it has some of the most evocative photography I have seen in an advert.  To me this one really goers to show you can make a message which connects us to real down to earth values.  Given the 14 million views of the tis ad on Youtube, perhaps this will be the start of a trend.

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As I was reading this book, I was taking part in a class to encourage my creativity and I had an exercise to bring out things I am passionate about in a photography project.  Two things that came to mind for me are our well being, how to live satisfying and fulfilling lives, and  the people of the Omo Valley and the well being of all of those who live very basic lifestyles around the world.  I realized I could combine these two themes and the idea was born to take pictures from glamorous magazines and integrate my pictures of Ethiopia into theme.  As I started looking at magazines the stories started jumping out at me.  Articles about how to eat well with only 125 calories, how we can all have the perfect skin (even if we live in Ethiopia, really?), the perfect car(t) and the list goes on.

I hope you enjoy these pictures and the contradictions they represent.

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5 thoughts

  1. Hey, Andy, I’m really glad you went back to this and sent it out. The juxtaposition of your photos with the advertisements is provocative and thought provoking. Great. I shudder when I watch TV with my boys and watch the seductive manipulations coming at them. Those guys are really good. Imagine if that creativity went into more useful projects. It’s all about the profit for some. I’m pleased that I’ve been teaching Joey and Georgio how to read those commercials since they were little. I hope it has helped them be discerning consumers. Thanks again, Andy. Good stuff.

  2. Hi Andy – great blog…no doubt one can view the difference between the developed and undeveloped worlds through the advertisement media. As related to advertisement…there is a movie that I did not see yet..but read about, called “No”. This is the story of the Chilean referendum as related to Pinochet (i think 1988) – the main character is an advertisement executive in charge of the “No” campaign to oust Pinochet. I plan to see the movie…will tell you more ..:)

  3. Love that Dodge advert, Andy. I rarely watch TV so hadn’t seen it before. It really is beautiful on many levels. Your photos juxtaposed with American ads is powerful. The Ethiopian beauty is far more captivating for me.

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