So my good friend Ben Winters, VP at Uppercut Images sent me this response to my Aesthetics: Knights of Cydonia post at 2am after we missed connections at the DJ Krush show at Neumo’s in Seattle. He wasn’t down with using the ‘comments’ unfortunately, and wanted this off-list. I have subsequently negotiated his letting me post his sleepy 2am rant-but-on-point note here:
As I sit awake now reading my email at 1 am after sleeping through DJ Krush, I just checked out your new site. For future reference, sentence construction this time of the morning can leave something to be desired. I enjoy your blog, thanks for the plug, and the new site… well that is smashing too. Somehow more accessible and lofty at once. Props to the crew. It’s all about content these days, but it requires a commitment and dedication. You have to create new content in order for people to return. And it looks like you are not having any issues with churning out some interesting topics and observations.
And your explanation of why the Muse video works is absolutely dead on. I have never really been a science fiction guy and quite honestly until very recently the pomp of rock operas and for that matter, prog-rock in general was totally lost on me. Again, I have to admit that this has changed lately. I have a newfound respect for bands like Yes. I’m not kidding. Yes. But this is a sort of sick interest at this point and I expect it will pass. But the director of the muse video successfully combined seemingly disparate threads of pop-culture. And successfully. With both an heir of grandiosity and a sense of humor. Not an easy thing to do. I don’t like spaghetti westerns (although I do like Ennio Morricone scores), I am not one of those kung fu movie guys, we covered the prog rock, and lasers? Take’em or leave’em. But this whole thing works. This is also a very timely video as it is a grand good v. evil conflict and has a healthy dose of escapism. And this escapism is exactly the reason it is successful. People at the moment are so disenchanted with the socio-political state of affairs that they are looking for something else in art and spirituality… and drugs. Have you read that psychedelic drug use is -again- exploding? And not in the rave sense, but a throwback to the psych rock days of the bands that make up those Nuggets compilations. Something we should certainly consider in the future (escapism, not drugs… well maybe both). Now I am going to try to apply some of this loosely to our industry. For the past few years, we have seen the advent of the snapshot, observational imagery documenting slices of life. That’s all great and good and I do believe that this will continue, but I think we will begin to see an increase in hyper-stylized imagery that will allow advertisers to attach more of a sense of escape with products. The evolution of experiential products will undoubtedly fuel this as well. This is a complete departure than saying product X allows you to spend more time with the kids. It is like what kids!?, Let’s say I am a 40 year old guy (incidentally I’m not) with lots of disposable income. What sort of escapism am I into?
Obviously I am referring those things that can actually be shown by the light of day. Activities, travel, demeanor, styling, emotion etc. All of these elements will be evolving. In any case, in order to create these images, people will need money, access, connections, talent and skill. A lot of the photographers that are coming up right now simply won’t be able to ‘make it’in the same way their predecessors have.
Here’s to well-executed well-informed visuals.
Props, Ben. Always well-informed and sharp. Thanks!