International Annual of Advertising Photography-Second Volume
Internationales Jahrbuch der Werbephotographie - Zweiter Band
Annuaire international de la photographie publicitaire-2e volume
[Cpcher Text: Seite 43]
francais: page 50]
lOTOGRAPHis, the only annual of advertising photo-
gthy, has now entered its second year. The importance
oil is international review of current trends and achieve-
m :s is obvious at a time when photography already
di inates the advertising field and is beginning to venture
ointo a more imaginative idiom. In the introduction to
th econd issue of Photographis, the eminent American
111!irector Henry Wolf gives some thought to the present
sittion, and an abridged version of his text is reproduced
hf with a selection of work from the book. Editor
otographis, das einzige Jahrbuch der Werbephoto-
igfllie, ist soeben zum zweiten Mai erschienen. Die Be-
duung dieser internationalen Übersicht über aktuelle
Tdenzen und Leistungen ist offensichtlich in einer Zeit,
ddie Photographie auf dem Gebiet der Werbung domi-
niIn der Einführung zum zweiten Band von Photo-
Gi'His macht sich der massgebende amerikanische Art
Hctor Henry Wolf einige sehr interessante Gedanken
1 ill! die gegenwartige Situation. Wir geben hier eine ge
lifte Fassung seiner Ausführungen, begleitet von einer
Awahl von Illustrationsbeispielen. Redaktion
otographis, un annuaire de la photographie publici-
ta: unique en son genre, vient de sortir de presse pour la
sejide fois. L'importance de ce répertoire international
dijendances et des realisations actuelles est évidente a
urjépoque oü la photographie domine nettement le do-
imle publicitaire. Dans la preface du second volume de
Pi ographis, Henry Wolf, directeur artistique américain
Iq lus influents, commente avec brio la situation actuellc.
trouverez ci-après un résumé de ses considérations,
acfnpagné d'exemples sélectionnés parmi les illustrations
dt juvrage. Redaction
Until the photograph there was no really believable image. A person or an event could only
be remembered by an eye-witness and passed on by a description in words (writing) or in
pictures (painting or drawing). The more gifted the witness, the more interpretative the descrip
tion became. The Mona Lisa may be a combination of many women's faces or even entirely a
creation of da Vinci's fantasy, but the faces of FDR, of Greta Garbo, of the i960 Cadillac are
immutable factsmillions of documents all over the world exist to prove their exact physical
appearances. It is this credibilityand not any of the other qualities ascribed to itthat is photo
graphy's primary importance.
During the centuries of Belief, images were largely created for and around religion. Painters
painted Heaven. All illusion was permissible since there was no proof to the contrary. Not by
technological accident alone did the advent of photography coincide with the start of the Industrial
Revolution. The picture-makers turned their eyes away from myths in the sky towards reality
on earth. As faith declined, proof did become necessary; the photograph is our document and
the camera both a symptom and a necessity of the Age of Realism.
Industry has replaced the Church in the role of the patron, and photography is its favourite
art form. It is hard for anyone to live through a day without having to look at hundreds of photo
graphs. From the sides of buses and the ceilings of subway cars, from magazine pages and displays
over lunch counters, through the mail and from the TV screen they inform, communicate and
try to sell the products of the patron.
As super-salesman to industry, the photograph's great virtue remains its intrinsic inability to
lie. The lady on the bus stares at an advertisement for eye shadow in which a girl many times life-
size looks very beautiful. She really is wearing bright blue eye shadowit's in the photograph.
The girl looks the way the lady would like to lookmaybe she's with a man infinitely more
sexy-looking than the lady's husband. When the lady gets off at her bus stop, she steps into the
nearest drug store and buys a tube of the blue eye shadow.
The photograph has lied only by implication (the lady will never look like the girl because
she's twenty years older) and by association (the home-coming husband will still be a tired
businessman). The cost of provoking this mirage far exceeds the cost of the eye shadow itself,
but the price is figured into the little packagethe consumer pays to be seduced by the advertiser
and loves it. Such a manoeuvre (if it is to be repeated) must be done with humour, tact and charm.
The great stark eye-witness lens of Mathew Brady has had to learn a few waltz steps.
The photographer can never start from zero like the sculptor confronted by a ton of shapeless
marble. This is both photography's lack as an art form and its tremendous incentive to its practi
tioners the very narrowness of the arena in which they can assert their individuality makes them
inventive by necessity. Here the soul of the earlier gifted eye-witness survivesthe gifted photo
grapher interprets rather than just reports. The artist in him has found ways of inserting himself
by censoring what he is willing to put in front of his lens and by increasingly manipulating his
way of recording it: he has the choice of subject, the choice of viewpoint, several choices of
optical distortions, the choice of real colour, unreal colour, or the absence of colour. And others.
The purpose of this book is to have a yearly check on the blood pressure of this forcewhether
you are a cynic and view most photography as just another tool of business or a romantic who sees
the photographer as a striving artist doesn't alter the fact that great activity has produced a
tremendous output of work.
A scrutiny of this work inevitably raises the old question of what constitutes a good or a great
photograph. For me there are two kinds of great photograph. The first is a picture dependent on