I recently asked for some information from a number of different sources - amongst them were manufacturer's representatives, wholesale representatives, and industry leaders. In most cases I was treated very well, and have been given promises of insights into what is here in our shop and what might be coming.
Oh, no industry secrets - nothing like that. I would not recognise them if I saw them and really would not know what to do with them. I asked for current details and that is what I am getting - and I am loving what I see.
In the case of Canon Australia I have been directed to some of their productions on YouTube - in particular a series of short videos under the overall title of " The Lab ". I've watched four so far and have really found them interesting...and in one case got hopping mad.
Let's start you out by dialing up youtube.com and asking for The Lab: Blank under the Canon Australia banner.
They set out the premise that 6 photographers will use Canon equipment in a bare infinity scoop studio setting with fixed lighting but be given no subject, model, props, or help. No selfies allowed. They just have to construct visual bricks without straw and they have to gather their own clay...and we all know who used that
as a business model...
Well, they study the place and then start to photograph their wristwatches, shadows, clothing, etc in an effort to find something of interest. One dude shucks himself down to his underwear and throws the rest of his clothes in the air while shooting it. The crew doing the video and the Canon executive who was authorising the thing may have had a nervous moment there, but in the end they all got some sort of results - proving that you don't need lots of props to make a picture.
And haven't we all done something similar when it has been either 45º outside or we have finally realised that we have no friends...and are forced to make art out of the contents of the kitchen drawers. I cannot remember anyone I know becoming a superstar icon mentor ambassador on the results, but there is always the thought that if Irving Penn could sell platinum prints of cigarette butts, we should be able to get something for JPEGs of juicers...
The next one I watched involved 6 photographers being told that they were going to be briefed by a client about a picture they wanted and they were to provide it. The video is entitled The Lab: Imagination. The clients turned out to be small children. And the photographers were given no help in their interviews...they had to elicit the information they needed from the child's imagination.
They then went out for a week and tried to make scenes that matched what had been described...and when these were revealed to the kids they apparently thought that it had been very well done. Both clients and shooters seem to have been able to exercise enough imagination to succeed.
Okay - in my cynical experience, a client's ideas are wonderful in about the same proportion that a stick grenade is wonderful. It fizzes for about five seconds and then becomes a painful experience.
The photographers in the video presumably did not have the kids hanging over them in the studio for a week telling them what to do, nor did they bring in other advisers to stir the pot - the shooters could go out there and do the biz. They also did not have the kid's accountants hanging over the invoice and vetoing expensive things. And they did not have to make a profit.
Art was served, and the photographers did get to show that they could react well, communicate well, and eventually produce well, but there were a number of real-world factors in there that were thankfully glossed over.
Next post: Two clever Canon videos - one of them honest...