Shooting glass to get
Using photography for advertising is not the easiest thing in the world. Getting perfect lighting, clarity, composition and colour is difficult enough for any photographer. While interpreting the client's brief creatively so the final image ends up doing the job intended is something else again.
The Challenge of Glass photographic competition, sponsored by United Glass in conjunction with Marketing, proved the point yet again this year. There was a record number of entries from students of photography and the standard was probably higher than ever before.
The decisive factor came down, therefore, to who had studied the brief and tried to work out what the client was really after.
There were two competitions. The advertising/promotional category, where photographs should be "of a product packaged in glass and communicate the message of added value in such a way which could be used by an advertising or other promotional agency to help sell the product", and the environmental category with "a whole glass packaging communicating the environmentally-friendly nature of glass packaging". Not just pretty pics, in other words.
This time around the judges were particularly demanding. They felt a "winning" formula had started to emerge from previous years - in other words, it was becoming slightly too predictable. If you want to show off the qualities of glass, stick it next to some tins (preferably rusting and crumpled) shine a light through it, and hey presto, the "qualities of glass" are revealed.
This year's winner (600[pounds] prize) is very different. Nigel Girling's teddy bear/honey theme added a new dimension to the photo. It told a story. It was witty, and made its point. This was selling the product - honey. And the picture of the glass was used to portray the qualities of the product in use. The message was clear and powerful.
But the choice was not unanimous. The professional photographer among us, David Stuart, was appalled. There were many other photos of a higher technical standard than this, he said.
And if art students really think that that sort of photograph wins awards, they will just give up.
And so, the endless tension between "artistic creativity" and a commercial eye surfaces once again. The second prize, however, did not have the same problems. Sandra Lambell's entry was technically excellent, successfully bringing out the quality of the glass as a packaging medium. …