Snapped in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. #Picfx
Category Archives: Photography
I’m a big fan of The Sunday Times, and in particular their Spectrum section (and not just when it features National Cheerleading Champions). In their own words, Spectrum ‘showcases astonishing photographs from the front line of life over 12 awe-inspiring pages’. True enough.
This weekend, sitting on a sun-drenched Clapham Common on a welcome weekend break from the marketing bubble in which I live my week, I found the images particularly worthy of reflection. The cover feature, which always contains a collection of stunning and astute shots illustrating one central theme, this week concerned itself with ‘Bare Necessities: The lives that consumer culture cannot reach.’
In the feature, we were shown a glimpse of a world beyond everything we know. Imagine a place with no iPhones, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Internet, no TV, no shopping (in the Western sense), no advertising (in the mass-consumer sense) and no commercialisation of absolutely anything.
Pretty difficult, huh.
And yet, as the images below will hopefully show, this world does exist – in fact it is very much a part of our own. Albeit a few thousands of miles away in the Greater Caucasus mountain village of Xinaliq (Khinalug) in Azerbaijan.
I think why they struck me most was because it actually tore a fairly sharp rift through what I do for a living, and therefore a huge part of who I am (well, maybe it shouldn’t be ‘therefore’, but that’s another issue entirely…)
In the marketing world, we live for commercialism. We live and breathe the brands we work so hard to protect, to grow, to promote – and yet, when it really comes down to it, what does it all mean?
In the end though, everything is relative. World economies are built very differently and comparing my yuppie life in South London with mountain-life in the upper mountainous regions of Azerbaijan is perhaps futile and the two are incomparable. But I do feel it is a comparison that we should nevertheless strive to make occasionally, and can learn from, in order to fully appreciate what the priorities in our lives should be.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and in living the life I have I wouldn’t choose to work in any other industry. But it does make you think how different life could be with a markedly different spectrum of experience.
Flipping through the FT‘s fashion special of its weekly portion of riches, How to Spend It last weekend, I was again savouring all the luxury brand creatives as much as (if not more than) the editorial pieces between. Typical marketer I guess.
Granted, the striking red and black contrast of the composition called for a book jacket of the same – peeping out of Cotillard’s arm candy to add a subtle hint of literary culture to her undeniable beauty. But was Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye the only one the stylist could lay her hands on? Or was there something deeper that informed the choice?
I noticed it because Catcher happens to be one of my top three books of all time. The intensely human centre of the narrative has made it one the preeminent novels of the twentieth century. Perhaps the implication is that, like the book, Lady Dior and her purse of choice are truly iconic. So was it chance that the Penguin cover design happened to fit so sharply into Dior’s latest creative?
Either which way, the choice was interesting. While high fashion houses like Dior spend hundreds of thousands on advertising creatives inventing a luxury world which its audience buys into (the classic, ‘buy the lifestyle not just the product’), essentially they do need to shift sales. When said product is included in shot, you can bank on every effort having been made to draw your attention to it.
Does the bag have the same presence of focus in the image with the book removed?
Thus, arguably, in this particular composition, Catcher has a greater starring role than Cotillard.
But for those more interested in the bag than its contents, you can snap up the ‘Le 30′ black lambskin leather number with ‘Cannage’ embroidery for a mere £1,550 from Dior.com now. Random fact? The Le 30 range owes its name to the number 30 in Christian Dior’s Avenue de Montaigne address.
My favourite? Well, it has to be the pink really doesn’t it. And just a snip at £1,290:
Couln’t resist posting this today.
With England cricket fans still reeling from the devastating annoucement of KP’s withdrawal from the remainder of the npower Ashes series, the above image found its way into two of the national broadsheets today.
PA photographer Nick Potts managed to capture and distill into one image the cloud of troubled thoughts surrounding England’s would-be captain at the present time. Standing in front of the sight screen branded with title sponsor npower‘s latest slogan, the boarding rather ironically conveys: Home Team – Service and Repair – this summer… just what KP had hoped for and, unfortunately, was denied.
Don’t worry folks. He’ll be back.
How I love it when the national UK press features cheerleading – believe me, it is a rare occurrence.
This weekend, my eye was caught by a double page photo spread no less in the Spectrum section of The Sunday Times Magazine, featuring the image above. Albeit that the image is not exactly recent – Ladefoged’s shot was originally taken for a New York Times feature on the Kentucky athletes in September of 2005- but it does showcase the colourful, fun vibrancy of the sport and, of course, the immense athletic prowess required to perfect the partner stunt (for cheer ignorami amongst you, the image above features 5 simultaneous partner stunts in mid-flight).
Interesting facts were included in the ST Mag caption too:
Members of the University of Kentucky team practise their high-flying routine before the national cheerleading championships. Although 97% of competitors are female, the physical demands of stunts mean that men are often recruited. Surprisingly, cheerleading began as an all-male pursuit, with the first females participating in the 1920s. The University of Kentucky team is seen as the best in the US, having won the championships 14 times in the past 17 years.
For those who aren’t regular readers of the ST Magazine, Spectrum is a section dedicated to the week’s news photographic highlights – so I was pretty proud to see the US Nationals (from April 5) selected to feature as one.
I haven’t seen my favourite twins around the place much lately (which I am hoping means they are hard at work on their various film and fashionista projects, instead of providing the usual cannon fodder for paparazzi), so I thought I’d add a little dedication here.
During some Twitter page updates this morning, I came across a reminder of the fab ‘Raining Teens’ cover feature in Vanity Fair (July 2003), where the twins were included in VF’s latest Young Hollywood photoshoot (always my very favourite issue of the year). The pic below pic adorned my bedroom wall for quite some time – in fact, the whole shoot was an indulgent homage to the fresh-faced, saccharine-sweet young teens dominating the pop culture market at the time. And now it adorns my Twitter wall instead.
Aside from the Olsens, the VF feature in question saw the magazine become – for one special issue only – ‘Teen Vanity Fair’ in order to highlight the burgeoning talents in Hollywood at the time. Some of them have seemingly disappeared off the radar completely (well, to those of us who don’t subscribe to the Disney Channel at least) whereas others have reached the dizzy echelons of super-stardom, hitting headlines with varying degrees of credibility. Evan Rachel Wood, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Shia LaBoeuf, Alexis Bledel, Amanda Bynes and the three Harry Potter kids (as they were then) all feature.
The full story and the complete image portfolio are still worth checking out now, both for the impressive creative art direction and a nostalgic reminder of what these kids were like in their pre-criminal record/rehab/drug habit days. Aw, bless.
As the enchanting magic of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series of novels has been captured for the big screen, the beauty of the movie and its talented young cast has in turn now been immortalized by Peggy Sirota for Vanity Fair.
A visit to the VF Twilight shoot slide show is an absolute must for any fans of the show or its attractive starlets, with lots of other goodies such as Q & A’s with the cast and exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot.
And for all you eager beavers who can’t wait to get your hands on the movie of the year, pre-order the Special Edition DVD now, to be released on 21st March (UK fans may have to wait a little longer).