Still At It

I note that promotion of products that are meant to improve the appearance of things – cosmetics, paints, and home improvement materials – are often marketed with ” Before and After ” photos. Not surprisingly, the ” After ”  is always somewhat better than the ” Before “. I mean, it is advertising after all. One could hardly expect the reverse to be promoted…

But what do we say when we can see that the first and second picture are taken with markedly different lighting and camera settings? When we see that the first one may have harsh angled lighting showing up cracks in the face or the wall – and the second shows soft diffused lighting that does not emphasize the same features – we are entitled to wonder at it.

I think we are also entitled to ask whether the advertiser is presenting these disparate images in such a way as to impose upon us. If we see it once – well that could just be unscientific enthusiasm, and entitled to a kindly excuse. If we see it twice…or thrice…the construction we can put upon the presentation becomes different.

I must extend this analogy to the photographic trade – to the images that are presented to sell cameras and lenses to us. I wonder how many of them are skating close to the edge of fraud?

I do remember seeing advertisements from a very well-known manufacturer that touted their small format cameras and film…but were taken on very large format cameras and film. The resolution and colour hinted at in the images was patently unachievable with the small cameras in the ad, but the clear implication was there that the wonderful panoramas came out of the small product. This sort of thing ceased eventually  – as did the rest of the company – but it left a residue of suspicion and cynicism that has served me well ever since.

In any event, the cosmetic product is unlikely to be of interest to me. I am proud of my wrinkles and do all I can to encourage them.



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