Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Smoking campaigns

Smoking used to be seen as glamorous and sexy with A-list celebrities and models advertising various brands. With today’s knowledge of the health effects associated with smoking, advertising has now taken a completely different approach where there are now a wide range of campaigns out there encouraging the public to stop smoking. I thought this simple image of the hospital bed was extremely powerful. The colour of the bed instantly tells you the advert relates to cigarettes and the use of the hospital bed directly links this to suffering or even death. It’s amazing how much information you can get out of a plain image without words.

Passive smoking is also a very common theme in advertising these days. I found a very unique one by the advertising company, CHI and Partners. I particularly like it because of its surreal qualities, which I am particularly interested by.

Here is some more surreal imagery, which I am greatly inspired by for my own Surreal photographs, which can be seen on my photography website at

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Art Exhibitions in London

During 2007-2008, I did an art foundation year in Wimbledon in London. During this time, I visited a wide range of art exhibitions and discovered new galleries other than the well known ones such as The Tate, The National Gallery, The Serpentine and The Royal Academy of Arts. I now regularly visit these lesser known galleries during my free time.

Previously I was not aware of any privately owned galleries however now I am a regular visitor to many such as the ones in Green Park and Cork Street. One artist that particularly stood out for me at one of the galleries on Cork Street was Graham Dean. Dean uses the figure to convey ideas, emotions and psychological states. He paints with watercolour onto porous handmade Indian paper in order to achieve beautiful, painterly effects.

During my year living in London, I also visited a few art fairs such as the Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park and The Art Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington, which both display work from new and established artists. The space was so vast and in each there was a huge mass of visitors, which was a nice change from the usual quiet confinements of a normal gallery space. The art was suitable for all ages and for a modern audience and there was a buzz and liveliness at each, which made the experience more exciting.

I always enjoy going to see The BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery as I am astounded by the realism of all the paintings. I am not keen on realistic painting however I admire the work as so much skill is involved and it also interests me as often there is a story associated with the portrait. This annual competition is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting.

The Saatchi gallery moved to Chelsea in 2008 and it is now much more successful and popular amongst the public than at its previous site. The gallery space is ideal; there are high ceilings and clean, white washed walls with ample light streaming through the large glass windows. There is a wide range of media on show and it all is engaging and appealing to all ages. Another reason why I like it so much is it is free, which is Saatchi Gallery’s aim to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible. Many artists showing at The Saatchi Gallery are unknown when first exhibited, not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world. I visited the New Art from the Middle East exhibition, which contained some extremely eye catching work.

The Wildlife Photographer of the year at The Natural History Museum is an International Competition, which showcases the very best nature photography. At age 11, one of my photographs was shortlisted to the top 25 from 3000 entries. I am now competing against professionals and so it is very difficult to be shortlisted but I still enjoy going as it is definitely my favourite annual exhibition in London.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Drink Driving

Drink driving is certainly a huge issue, particularly amongst young drivers who hit the legal drinking age at the same time as when they have the freedom of being able to drive. The government is desperately trying to tackle this problem and reduce the numbers. So far this has involved campaigns such as Safe Drive Stay Alive, which is a project that educates young drivers by using a hard-hitting approach where people who have been involved in life threatening accidents or have lost loved ones to such accidents talk about their experiences. There have also been many successful advertising campaigns such as ‘Think!’ I came across this one, which is very powerful and I also chose it because I like the use of advertising directly within the environment.

The THINK! campaigns focus more on avoiding distraction, being visible and reinforcing basic road safety principles. These adverts need to be powerful and memorable as road accidents between vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists are the biggest single cause of accidental death for 12 to 16 year olds. Whenever I see a cyclist on the road, my attention is always focused on it now all because of this advert, which has stayed in my mind ever since first viewing it.

There may be some successful advertisements out there created to encourage the public to reduce their alcohol consumption, however I think the best are in fact, those which promote alcohol. Here are some of my favourite, most memorable advertisements for beer:

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Rankin is one of my favourite photographers as his images are so innovative and a lot of his work directly benefits charitable causes. I have been lucky enough to have taken part in one of his recent, ambitious projects called Rankin Live. This involved inviting 1000 of the British public, who had a distinctive style, sense of British eccentricity, and enthusiasm. To apply, you had to send in a photograph of yourself and the lucky participants were invited to the Rankin exhibition at London's Truman Brewery in August to sit for their personal shoot. The portraits produced on the day were hung as part of his exhibition, showcasing his work from the past 22 years and they were also uploaded online to the Rankin Live website:

His most recent project involves a series of striking images of close-ups of women’s faces with heavy makeup. At first glance the images appear to be advertising the latest in edgy style from the more extreme reaches of high-end fashion however they are actually intended to highlight the millions of women around the world who have gone blind. His purpose is to make more people aware that two-thirds of blind people are women, 90% of whom live in developing countries. I think these images are very effective as they look very fashionable rather than a disturbing one, which we would discard and not look twice at.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Nick Brandt

My interest in photography has stemmed from my annual visits to the national parks in South Africa. Today, African wildlife is one of the most overexposed subjects on the planet. For this reason, I find it difficult to take an individual photograph and so that is why I keep this passion of mine as more of a hobby than a way to make money. However, I recently came across a photographer, who has achieved an extremely unique approach. Nick Brandt is an English photographer who spends months finding the perfect composition and then will manipulate his subject using Photoshop. He changes his images using infrared techniques and he also often employs blurred and faded borders to recall the look of antique photographs. His photographs are transformed into dream-like, elegant photographs, which appear more like paintings. He also refuses to use a telephoto lens and instead, will track animals for days just to get up close and personal to them and I think this adds to intimate feeling in each photograph.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Keith Joubert

An artist who is similar to Nick Brandt in the way that he captures African wildlife in a unique, exciting way is the South African artist, Keith Joubert. He travels throughout Southern African as well as Botswana and paints directly in nature to capture the real essence of the African bush. I love the painterly style he employs with oils and the decorative patterns he combines into the composition along with the overlapping of the wildlife to give the painting more of an abstract finish.