Thursday, 24 September 2009
I finally gave in to my 'need' for an iphone and took the plunge last week to pay out the cash for a nice shiny new iPhone 3Gs. And since then its been an extension of my hand. One of my housemates at the moment also has just got one and we both sit there on the sofa iphones in hand winding up the rest of the house. It has to be said apple know exactly how to make a sexy product.. if anything the iphone is too good looking, I have had to cover its smooth curves with a rubberized case to protect my new pride and joy from my drunk antics. It's like a mini mac in your hand, all your internet needs bundled into a shiny little package. An on going joke now in the house however following the 'there is an app for everything' advert campaign were anything said or done in the house someone pipes up with 'theres an app for that'. It has to be said though that the accessibility to the world trough the palm of your hand is something quite addictive.. whether the novelty will soon ware off i'm not sure. The iphone however is definitely the 'in thing' in todays culture for the moment anyway.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Saturday my mam my sister and I went to IKEA, my sister is off to uni this year so she needed all the relevant pots and pans, and I needed to buy forks to replace the forks I lost last year, as in all the student houses I've lived in there is a fork black hole somewhere. And while wandering round the massive showroom like warehouse that is IKEA I found this kitchen table that's just great. This space saving solution with style just works.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
DHL delivery at the turn of a page. This very clever advertising campaign by DHL perfectly shows the simplicity and speed of using DHL as a courier. The ad is a 4 page spread, the center page is a transparent sheet with the delivery man printed onto it, so as you turn the page, the parcel passes from one set of hands to the other. There isn't much more to say about it really, it just works, and it works because its so simple. High five DHL, wish I'd thought of it.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
These astonishing images are of course due to the effect of High Dynamic Range photography, they come from a book called 'The World in HDR' by blogger Trey Ratcliff aka 'stuck in customs'. With HDR photography now being made easy by digital SLR's and post production software there is no need for sandwiching negatives together.
HDR photographs use multiple exposures and sandwich them together to create an image that can represent a wide range of light sources and intensity levels of light. A photographer who is well known for doing this is Gregory Crewdson, I tried to reproduce a Crewdson image this year and found shooting multiple exposures and sandwiching them together an interesting experience. As I was trying to emulate Crewdson who has his own style of working, none of my images were quite as dramatic as these images by Trey Ratcliff. It would be interesting to try and emulate some of these more dramatic shots, but of course for the majority of these you need that dramatic landscape or subject.
You are seeing more and more of these HDR photographs around, I don't think I've seen a copy of Digital SLR magazine or something similar without a HDR image on the front. Although you can see why, the detail and quality of almost every part of the image is perfect, you get rid of the blown out or shadowed areas you would normally get with a single exposure. Is this the way forward? Or will people get bored of the 'perfectness' of the photos and long for the artistic imperfect colorless mess of polaroid, or the grainy elegance of high speed black and white film?
Monday, 7 September 2009
Today Terry Wogan announced that he will be retiring from his morning spot on Radio 2. I have to admit that normally Radio 2 is not my thing, but this morning my grampa gave me a lift to the train station and that is all that is ever on in his car. I have to say it saddened me to hear that the voice that anyone under the age of 27 has grown up with will no longer be soothingly whispering through stereo speakers nationwide. I think it must have been the amount of time I spent at my grandparents while I was young that's given me the love for 'the Wogan' because friends I've asked about the subject tend not to care. But to me he is one of those voices you like to listen to, like Morgan Freeman, Eddie Butler, Stephen Fry, and Patrick Stewart. (although I think Eddie Butler is just a personal thing, or maybe a welsh thing because the rugby is never missed in my house) The Wogan retired from the Eurovision a couple of years ago, and I haven't watched it since, it was his half drunk sarcastic remarks that made the show worth watching. And his retiring from the morning show on Radio 2 will truly be the end of an era.
Friday, 4 September 2009
This is Dina Goldstein's fallen princess it is a striking 'real life' image of a disney princess. It immediately made me think of Annie Leibovitz who did the celebrity disney photo shoots with David Beckham and Scarlet Johanson and also the humor of David Lachapelles work just without the extreme colour. Were as Annie Leibovitz's take on the disney princess stick to the disney story-line of the perfect world and just brings it into a modern celebrity culture context, this image brings the nothing's perfect real life culture into the disney world. I think its a clever image that portrays some of culture at the moment and the face of snow white just says it all.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
While sat on the train today I picked up the METRO, as you do, there are plenty left around by commuters on the seats. And to my surprise I found a really interesting photograph. This quite amazing photograph was taken by photographer and environmentalist Michael Nolan. Of course following the shocking resemblance to a woman crying people have suggested its a last warning by mother nature and this is 'the earth goddess Gaia's reaction to her deteriorating world'. Whether you are going to believe that this is the world telling us something, pure coincidence or a manufactured image the significance of the imagery is the same, we do have a global warming problem and this shows it literally as well as having that extra bit of something special going on. It could work really well as a global warning awareness campaign photo.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Ok, this advert has been on TV for the last couple of weeks, and I've been looking for a video clip of it on the internet to put into the blog, and I've finally found one! It must be the only thing not on youtube. Anyway i don't suppose I have too much to say about the advert really. I just really liked the idea of having the photos of your adventures in your new freelander run around the living room. And nice little touches like when it goes across the top of the fish bowl and the photos are of the car going through a stream. It's just a nice idea that has been executed well in my opinion. Just the way the photos flow works really well.
UPDATE : as you can see my search for the video was pointless as it has now been removed. hopefully everyone knows the advert I'm talking about.
Monday, 31 August 2009
With Polaroid stopping production of instant film in June 2008 what is left on the market is all there is and the Polaroid will soon become a distant memory. Or will it? The impossible project is a mission undertaken by some of the worlds top integral film experts to re-invent the now vintage and iconic technology. The reason Polaroid stopped making film was because the components/ingredients needed for the film have not changed in 40 years and some of those resources are no longer available or are just too expensive to be commercially viable. So the impossible project is to re-invent using new technologies film that will work with the vintage Polaroid cameras. The team have bought a whole Polaroid factory in the Netherlands and all of the necessary equipment, but will they be able to successfully re-invent Polaroid by their completion date of 2010? And if they do manage to do it and 'save' Polaroid, will it still be Polaroid? Sure if they manage it it will be instant film, but will it have all of those Polaroid characteristics that we all know and love? Will the new technologies or techniques used to create the film get rid of the imperfections that make the film so lovable? I suppose we will have to wait and see. And either way I hope they succeed, whether they retain the Polaroid charm or re-invent it completely, because at £30 a pop the limited stock of film is too highly priced for my student budget so hopefully Polaroid makes a comeback.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
The Cool Hunter Design studio have been working on creating a new flying experience. After all most airlines are more or less the same seats and service, its just passenger preference or price that dictates what airline you fly with. But what they are trying to do is look at a plane in a different light, why does a plane have to be like a bus? why cant it be like a hotel or a spa or a bar? It's an interesting idea and certainly if I had the money I would love to fly in style rather than in the same old fashion. Emirates started this whole thing with their suite sleeper rooms, were you can have a room to yourself with a fully reclining large bed-seat, and a 23inch plasma TV with your own mini bar and dressing table. But apart from obvious extra health and safety rules why cant flight be more like a cruise, were you sit in a bar and have a drink, or sit down at a table for dinner?
Saturday, 29 August 2009
With our cultures obsession with 'celebrity' and the fact that the SLR camera is no longer just for the professionals Nikon have come up with a clever interactive poster design. In a busy subway station Nikon have mounted a light-box billboard where life like images of paparazzi seem to be competing for the best shot of some new celebrity. As you walk past the poster a sensor is triggered and an array of flashes come from the poster, making you 'the new big thing'. Its a clever yet slightly intrusive and annoying poster if this walk was on your daily commute. But never the less it definitely would get your attention. And the other thing that you have to consider is not only have they got a load of paparazzi fighting for your attention, Nikon have been kind enough to provide you with your very own red carpet. This play on our cultures obsession with celebrity image is cool, and not only do you get to be a celebrity for that couple of paces past the billboard, you can follow the red carpet straight out of the subway station and into the Nikon store. Nice touch Nikon.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Ok, so yesterday I stood in line for four and a half hours, probably the longest I've ever stood in a line for anything. And the Banksy Vs Bristol Museum exhibition is worth all four and a half hours of the wait. You finally get let loose inside the museum after staring at the back of the head of the person in front of you for over four hours. Maybe the waiting and the freedom of walking at more than a pace every five minutes actually makes the exhibition better. Maybe the rebellion and freedom you feel when you are finally let loose of the monotony of the que is part of the whole experience. Anyway, the ground floor has completely been taken over by Banksy. There is one room absolutely rammed full of his/her work, and then as you venture upstairs in the museum/gallery the pieces become more sparse, you have to look for the work of the 'Local artist' amongst the collection of fine art the gallery normally displays. I think a lot of the people there are there because of the hype and trendy thing that the 'Banksy' takeover of Britain has created. And I got the feeling that they were not enjoying wandering round the Bristol gallery looking at all of the fine art and trying to just spot the 'cool' pieces. I on the other hand thought that this exhibition would have been a good opportunity to open some of those peoples eyes about all of the 'boring old paintings' that were the best of British art before this revolution. Whether many of the people who went did pay attention to the 'other stuff' or not will never be known, but this exhibition definitely drew enough of a crowd of all ages. Wandering round the gallery some of the pieces will literally make you laugh out loud where as others are just kind of beautifully ironic. I have to say its one of the best art exhibitions I have been to, not only in terms of it living up to all the hype, but just the body of work and its relevance to modern culture and the constant humor. The exhibition is only open until the 31st of August, but if you are in Bristol this weekend I guarantee the huge que is well worth the wait.
An advertising agency from Auckland, New Zeland have put together an interesting and shocking billboard campaign. According to Kiwi news the heavy rain after the summer brings the highest death toll on New Zelands roads. So this campaign urges people to drive according to the weather conditions. This billboard bleeds as it rains, to bring peoples attention to the weather and the way they are driving. It's a clever idea, if not a little too shocking and serious, and even distracting for drivers to have a child crying blood on the side of the road. The tag line 'Rain changes everything' also works quite well. I'm just not sure if the whole thing is just a little too gruesome.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
With Apple's monopoly on the worlds ears in terms of mobile music with the iPod, their competitors really need to step things up. Not only do Apple have the 'coolest' product, they also have the 'coolest' ad's. Is it time for the rest to just hang up their earphones and give up? Sony don't think so, not yet anyway. I hadn't seen this poster campaign before but I've just found it, and as a counterattack to Apples empire I think its a valid effort. It was done by Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney in 2008. It just tries to create a cool brand image for the 'New York Commuter' to try and compete with Apple by using the Sony earphones to map out the New York subway system. As most people use their MP3 players on their daily commute I think its an idea that would speak to the majority of people in that market, well in New York anyway. But is it too late for anyone to compete with the Apple empire? Is it possible to re-invent the iPod like the iPod re-invented the way we listen to music? Or are Apple free and clear?
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
I urge everyone to watch this film about sharks. Not only has it won 31 international film awards it will change the way you think about not only sharks but humanity and even global warming. It's an extraordinary account of a young film makers encounters with sharks and what we are now doing to them. Because of the media sharks have become the worlds 'evil' predator. I'm not saying this film has made me hate the film Jaws or anything, its just that its made me realize that that mindset has been thrust upon people by the media. More vending machines fall on people and kill them than sharks kill people every year. There are some really interesting views and facts in this documentary that really will change the way you look at things as well as some amazing and shocking footage. I've always been fascinated by sharks so I can understand why this striking film has had such an impact. But I cant urge you enough to go and watch this. Sharks are endangered and we have wiped out 90% of one of the oldest animals in the world that have been around for 420 Million years. Its almost unbelievable how the profile of sharks has been so influenced by the media and how because they are not cute and fluffy they are not being saved. Watch It!
After speaking about this campaign in my last entry I could not resist to put it in, just because this is probably in my mind the most genius advertising campaign ever. It's so engaging, is so striking, its just perfect for the purpose its designed for. The idea to bring the human rights problems to everyone's doorsteps were you cannot just ignore them. The idea of scouting out the locations of the posters and photographing the backdrop so that the poster sits in the scene perfectly is just a superb idea, its almost like the Polaroid post from yesterday, it just takes it that step further. We have all seen the adverts on TV for things like amnesty international and the NSPCC and water in Africa and so on, but nothing grabs my attention like this campaign has, it brings whats going on in the world that step closer towards you, and makes you that little bit more uncomfortable about whats going on.
This is an ad campaign for 'Lays' USA, they are trying to advertise that their potatoes are 'grown closer than you think' and Lays 'chips' or crisps, are made with local potatoes. It's a clever idea to use the roof of the subway tunnels, to show the potatoes growing through as you are underground. For three weeks in this subway tunnel in Chicago you will be able to see this installation of potatoes falling through the ceiling due to the creative minds of the Juniper Park agency in Toronto. It's another one of those ambient media campaigns that just works. It reminds me of the two amnesty international campaigns; 'It happens not here. But now' and the poster campaign were they put all the faces behind bars. These three campaigns have one important thing in common, the placement of the advertisement is the main contributing factor to the idea being successful.
This week the independent misconduct committee for the IRB ruled that all players and the South African Rugby Union were guilty of misconduct during the British and Irish Lions test on the 4th of July. If you didn't already know this misconduct hearing was following the South African players wearing 'Justice for Bakkies' armbands after he had a two week ban for dangerous play in the previous test match. As you can see all that the players did was have white tape on their arms with 'Justice' written on it. A simple visual message to show that they did not agree with the ruling against Bakkies Botha. The Independent Committee made it very clear in its ruling that “the playing arena is no place for protest” and that the wearing of the armbands “showed a serious lack of respect and consideration for their opponents”. The SARU have been fined £10,000, each player has been fined £200 and John Smit the captain has been fined £1000. Although I agree with the ruling, because really what they did was show they all support foul play it seems that the rugby pitch is no place for free speech. And it shows although the actual execution was just a bit of white tape and a sharpie, a visual statement or protest can get you in a lot of trouble. The IRB still have 14 days to appeal against the ruling to try and get more serious action taken against the SARU, one of the suggested fines is banning the current world champions from defending their crown at the 2011 world cup however that will only happen if they are found guilty of further misconduct between now and then.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
While I was looking around for Polaroid film and just random images on the Internet, i found a series of photos that were very interesting. They were by a young Swiss artist 'Aimless-thing' on Deviantart.com. The series interested me because of the Polaroid Vs Digital aspect. Something which i had been discussing with a friend at my party on the weekend. How Polaroid photos have somehow extra meaning and are more sentimental than film images, and film images are more so than digital images. The majority of peoples digital images never get printed, they sit on your computer and never get seen. Printing your images is something I've come to appreciate after doing Film B&W and Colour film developing this year. I've always shot film as well as digital but hadn't processed my own film until this year. Anyway the series reminded me of one of the projects I did for my colour course in Canada, where I did a series of self portraits where I had photographs of my face covering my face, if that makes any sense? Anyway the similar aspect was the photograph of a photograph that completes the picture. Something that not only works in this series of photographs, but adds so much by having what has become the iconic Polaroid image. The imperfections and lack of colour and contrast is what makes Polaroid images so nice. And this series plays upon that very well. Needless to say we need to bring back the Polaroid! The instant perfect image of digital that doesn't get seen the majority of the time somehow can't compare to the imperfections of Polaroid, they just have so much character.
Monday, 24 August 2009
As a silly present for my birthday I got a pack of A4 sized playing cards, and somehow just out of comedy value, playing cards becomes twice as fun. The size of the cards just make the whole experience hilarious, especially in the hands of our 8 year old family friend, the cards are like half her size. So we decided to make 'the biggest card tower ever'. Never the less, bigger is most certainly better.
'The “Carrera Panamericana” was an epic race that was started in the 1950s and attracted many of the leading drivers of the time. Juan Manuel Fangio, the famous Argentinian driver who was Formula 1 World Champion five times, won the race in 1953. To pay tribute to this unique adventure, in 1963 TAG Heuer launched the Carrera Chronograph that combined refinement with the spirit of sport. It was an immediate success. It has been modernised but still retains its sober elegance. The Carrera perfectly embodies the vibrant memory of the era of “Gentleman drivers.”'
Thats what Tag say about it anyway, my mam simply picked it because she thought it was 'shiny' and 'classic' looking, although I must admit she was quite drunk at my 21st when she told me that, so making sense wasn't her strong point at that time. But I have to admit it is quite shiny. Although my favorite design feature about the watch is the crystal back, so that you can see into the inside of the watch, a quite useless feature really as you have to take the watch off to see the back of it, and 98% of the time you'r going to be wearing the thing. But never the less, a aesthetic touch that pleased me.
Unfortunately I can't find you a photo of the one I'm looking at on my wrist because apparently from what Ive found out it doesn't go on sale until September. But apparently its Swiss Avant-Garde since 1860 so Tag say anyway, but I do have to admit the mixture of 'classic' or 'old fashioned' if you like with a modern twist is just perfect. The simplicity and geometric design makes it a simple and 'timeless' design that isn't going to go out of fashion because it doesn't try and be too much and keep up with trends, it just does the simple things right and looks good doing it.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Still with the topic of 'colour' I found these monopoly Ad's that exploit the iconic status of Monopoly within our culture today. Everyone knows almost instinctively that houses are green and hotels are red, because everyone has sat around and played monopoly on a rainy day with family or at Christmas. It even has loads of different versions now, you can even get Leeds university monopoly. But the thing I like about these ad's are they are purely basing everything on the knowledge that everyone knows the colours of the hotels and houses on the monopoly board. It's just s nice, simple advertising campaign that builds on preconceptions everyone already has.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
After painting yet another room in my house the wrong colour my family have spent the last half an hour or so laughing at the fact that I'm colour blind. Picking up random objects in the kitchen and saying 'soo.. what colour is this?!' my mam being a very intelligent woman but having no common sense picked up a tomato and asked what colour that was, needless to say that brought on a lot of laughter amongst the rest of us. Because literally as soon as you learn to talk you learn tomatoes are red, so even if I couldn't see it I'd know what colour it was. Anyway, being colour blind this is a topic I find really interesting, and it would be an interesting brief to try and use colour blind dot test type typography to try and convey a message. Or at least an interesting thing to take into account while designing. Because what I didn't realize until we got my computer out with the family to look at colour blind spot tests that there are some that colour blind people can see and people with normal colour vision cannot. There are even some where within the same dot sequence there are two messages, one for colour blind people, and one for people with normal colour vision. I have no clue what the above dot sequence is, to me its a circle of dots. Can you see what it is?
Sunday, 16 August 2009
So, in my state of semi-sleep while I am ill I've watched yet another film. This time I went for Oscar Winning There Will be Blood. A period drama about the difficulties of trying to start up a family oil drilling business. Apart from the film being extremely slow and kind of boring I sill feel compelled to see what happens in the end, I think this is purely due to Daniel Day Lewis' performance in the lead role and his relationship with his son who becomes deaf in an accident drilling. The main thing that does get on my nerves about this film is not the slowness or the fact that I'm kind of bored, it's the need they have to add eerie weird music over the top of scenes that just do not match in feeling to the sound going on. It makes no sense whatsoever, the music feels like it has been plucked from a horror thriller where you are looking at what looks like a typical western, it just doesn't feel right. So the only reason I can see to watch this film is to see Daniel Day Lewis act his pants off, otherwise I'd give it a miss. Saying that I'm writing this while watching so there may be a fantastic ending that I will never write about, however that is doubtful.
..So I decided to stick it out until the end. Although the relationship between Daniel and his son becomes more interesting as the film continues and you eventually see the slow destruction of Daniels character due to that, it does not get much more interesting than how it started and the weird soundtrack just continues.
..So I decided to stick it out until the end. Although the relationship between Daniel and his son becomes more interesting as the film continues and you eventually see the slow destruction of Daniels character due to that, it does not get much more interesting than how it started and the weird soundtrack just continues.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys is one of those films that I'd seen the majority of in various sittings but never really watched all the way through. And you have to admit its one of those strange 'cult-ish' films. The thing that struck me while watching it though was the believability of Brad Pitt as an absolute nutter, he has of course the Fight Club role were hes a little mad, but in this he is literally just mental. He's one of those Hollywood A-listers that appear in all those popular mainstream films like the Oceans trilogy and Mr and Mrs Smith but he also has some less popular gems. Other than Brad Pitt's character Bruce Willis has to cope with the ins and outs of mental illness as he struggles to cope with what is reality as he is forced to move back and forth between 1996 and 2035. The film is does well to try and convey the nature of reality and the subject that comes up in many films of Armageddon and the human races ability to wipe ourselves out. This never really feels like its one of those end of the world films though it feels more psychological than disaster, it hasn't got that un-needed dramatacism that comes hand in hand with the majority of Armageddon films. Without the un-needed drama it becomes more edgy and believable than say for instance Independence day, Armageddon, Day after tomorrow, which all cope with the subject of the end of the world. Overall the subject is artfully and cleverly depicted as apposed to the in your face aspect of the other films I have mentioned. This may be however because the majority of the film is based before the event as 'James Cole' Bruce Willis' character tries to gather information on 'the army of the twelve monkeys' the group thought to be behind the destruction of 99% of the worlds population. The scenes set in 2035 have an interesting Blade Runner / Fifth Element type quality were a lo-tech vision of the technology in 2035 is tried to be realized, for instance the ball of TV screens that 'James Cole' is sat in front of during the 'present-time' scenes. After finally watching the film from start to finish in one sitting I actually came away with a higher appreciation for it than I'd expected and if you haven't seen it its well worth a watch.
As the IRB and Emerates launch the rugby photograph of the year award for 2009 I look back at last years winner to see what we have in store for us again this year. Last years winner Matthew Impey's with his 'Gladiator' photograph embodies the spirit of the sport every Welshman is born to play. This photo of Rafa Ibanez emerging triumphantly from the pile of Leicester Tigers and London Wasps bodies in the Guinness premiership final of 2008 captures all the emotion and physicality that accompanies the most gladiatorial of modern team sports. Possibly another reason this picture works so well is because of the balding head of Lawrence Dallaglio lifting himself from the mess of bodies, this the last game of a player who has become legendary in British rugby. I remember the moment when he went off about 60 minutes into this match and the whole crowd, supporters from both sides gave the modern legend a standing ovation. I can't think of any way this picture could encapsulate this match and this sport any more than it does without maybe switching Rafa and Lawrence just to give that extra bit of meaning, with this being his last match at Twickenham. But of course sports photography is not about setting up the scene, its about capturing that moment of emotion, the dive across the whitewash, the second a ruck is hit, the instant ball meets boot, and this photograph is a perfect example of that.
Friday, 14 August 2009
The simple things that make us laugh. While sat watching rubbish on the BBC a snippet for the walk on the wild side show came on, and made my friend and I wet ourselves laughing. Originally I thought it was just a clever snippet for one of the wildlife on one documentaries to draw in some extra viewers, but it's actually a full length comedy show using the same idea as the snippet, were comedians provide the voice overs for the usual documentary wildlife footage. It reminds me of watching the old eurovision song contest with Terry Wogan were you aren't really too interested in whats on the tv but the whole thing is made twice as funny by the voice overs, the same as how Terry Wogan's sarcastic half drunk remarks make the eurovision funny; the voice over the footage of a groundhog ignorantly shouting 'Alan' is just hilarious. Needless to say the show will be recorded tomorrow at 5:50.
I've been a fan of Alex Trochut's for a while now, and he has recently updated the back catalogue of work on his website. I love his masterfull mixture of illistration and custom typography, it embodies a lot of the values and ideas taught in the classes I attended taught by Paul Sych, another creative custom typographer. This poster for 'The Decemberists' has such obvious links to Salvador Dahli with the melting forms suspended by a plethora of twigs but it holds its own by bringing in the barely legable type. The 'The' is pretty legable, and you can figure out the rest of the letters easily once you have gone down to the bottom of the page and read 'the decemberists' written in the uppercase serif type, but withought this it would not work as easily. For those people looking at it as a tour poster, they may never notice the type hidden in the illistrative blobs, which gives you a nice sence of satisfaction when you doo see it.