01 september 2011

Reality sucks

WE HAVE A NEW RENTER. Maj and I now have the privilege of sharing our premises with not only Rasmus and Wolfgang, the men behind The Potential Project, but also with Susanne and Snæbjörn who are running a successful little book publishing company by the name of Hr. Ferdinand.

NOW WHY DO I TELL YOU THIS? Well, you see, today
Snæbjörn was portrayed in the PLEASURE section of the newspaper
Børsen. And we were all pretty surprised when we saw the magazine front page, as well as the seven inside pages devoted to this story.
Not so much because of the words – they form a loyal and interesting description of an
interesting man. But having come to know Snæbjörn as a warm, kind, and very relaxed person, we were wondering why this photographer had chosen to portray him as … no, I think I’ll leave it up to you to judge what kind of impression Snæbjörn leaves on these pictures.

Well, yes …
Snæbjörn has a nose, and he certainly works with books. Usually does not carry them out into cornfields, however.

ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE, someone has poured a lot of water over Snæbjörn.
By the way, the clothes he’s wearing look suspiciously different from his ordinary wardrobe … and not just because they are wet
The caption says: ”Best-selling books are not always pieces of art. Many are journalistic stories. But sales and art can easily co-exist’,
Snæbjörn says, mentioning the Japanese author Haruki Murakami as an example”.
OK, now I understand why he is soaking wet …?

HOWEVER, ON THE NEXT SPREAD he is even wetter. Caption: ”The publisher behind Hr. Ferdinand is the son of an art-loving priest. ’I was raised with a great passion for music and inspiration from culture. My dad always wrote his preachings listening to Bach’, Snæbjörn Arngrimsson says”.
In case you are wondering about the swimming pool, you’re not alone.

Snæbjörn wonders, too. ”But perhaps the photographer heard the old anecdote – not true, but anyway – about me meeting Dan Brown in a swimming pool in Slovenia, leading to our contract for The Da Vinci Code”, he guesses, exerting his open-mindedness.

LAST PAGE, last photo.
And this is what Snæbjörn looks like in real life:

SO WHAT’S MY POINT? Well, it looks as if the challenge of trying to understand the true personality of an interesting, intelligent, kind, many-facetted, successful man, and trying to visually convey this broad variety of human qualities to Børsen’s readers, does not appeal to our man behind the camera.
He seems to find it much more stimulating to make up entirely his own story.
Following that ambition, the ”photo artist” ignores two facts which I (contrary to him, apparently) find important:
1) In no way do these photographs relate to the story. And
2) In no way are they reflecting the actual human being which they were supposed to portray.

BUT WHAT THE HECK: Reality sucks, anyway.
Let’s make it all up.

3 kommentarer:

Lars Pryds sagde ...

Basically, I agree. However, there is nothing wrong with or suspicious about staged photography as such, as long as the photo session takes its starting point in real life, or if the result supports the story. There are many great examples of this in Danish magazine design. I will be showing some of these in St. Louis (http://www.sndstl.com/). The positive thing about these photos is that valuable time has been spent on the job. Oh, and congrats on the new renter :-)

Munkytalk sagde ...

Thanks Lars. And, as I am sure you already know, I totally share your views on staged photography. Two of my recent posts are in fact praises of arranged photos (http://olemunk.blogspot.com/2011/08/usually-it-is-much-easier-to-explain.html and http://olemunk.blogspot.com/2011/07/det-indlevede-fotografi.html) and as you write yourself, if the result supports the story, fine with me.
Anyway, good luck in St Louis!

Martin Kirchgässner sagde ...

Jeg har heller intet imod opstillede fotos, så længe de fortæller en god historie, men der er en tendens til at fotografer skal lege kunstnere i stedet for at tage en godt billede. Alt for mange fotos i denne genre er nærportrætter hvor den portrætterede lægger ansigtet i besynderlige folder eller tvinges til at posere i absurde sammenhænge. De bedste fotos derimod viser den portrætterede usminket i sine vante omgivelser. I tilfældet med Snæbjørn det sidste foto med afslappet skjorte på sit kontor...