September 15, 2005

Stephen Gill's Billboards

I fell in love with Stephen Gill's photography a while ago.

He specialises in capturing images of everyday life – a kind of still image documentry if you will, and often asks us to question what we cannot see.
He often catches ironic images that we take for granted everyday. My favourite collection of Gill's which capture brilliantly the 'sparkling' and bright fascade of the advertiser's favourite, is the billboard.
We (for the most part) see only the front; the reverse however reveals something totally different.


Inland Revenue


(Left) Fight the cold. Practice self defence – Danone Actimel.
(Right) It's time to leave the country – Thomas Cook


(left) Bill lickers will be prosecuted. The new Big Tasty. M. I'm lovin it.
(right) See daddy. Now video calls for the same price as voice – 3mobile


Corsett £14.99 – H&M


L'Oreal Paris. Because you're worth it.

What I find so intriguing about Gill's work is that it constantly challenges us to redefine our assumptions about things we think we know the answers to. What are our schemata for judging things based upon – past experience.
You cannot assume things and always expect them to be correct just because they are most of the time.

Consider the following link
Ask yourself if you know what kind of people they are. Could you guess what is in each trolley? Do you REALLY know?

People on a train – link
We all see people like this everyday and don't give them a second glance yet make instant assumptions about them based on their appearance or their demeanor.
Who are they?
Where are they going?
Where have they been?
Are they upset? If so, why?
What are they thinking?

How accurate are our assumptions about them?


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Reminds me somewhat of the stuff that Martin Parr shoots. Doesn't really do it for me, tbh. I prefer to feel a stronger engagement with the subject, rather than this movement to make the thing seem as ordinary as possible – especially the people. People aren't ordinary at all; they shouldn't be made to look so.

    15 Sep 2005, 21:58

  2. My sister did her dissertation on Martin Parr, he wasn't very nice to her when she met him. Grrrr.

    I like his work though. It gives the impression of being hypernormal.

    I never have enough nerve to take photos of people though.

    16 Sep 2005, 08:35


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