A new generation of images
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Hello In the third edition of Breed, we celebrate the best work of 2012 and surface the trends, ideas and photographers we think will be making an impact in 2013. Our global team of art directors and editors have collaborated with some of the worldâ€™s most exciting photographers. Our writers have the stories behind the latest projects by Luca Sage and Tim Flach. And our creative researchers have identified new themes for the year ahead.
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Here are just a few of our favourite images weâ€™ve curated from stand-out photographers around the world.
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In his latest series, Luca Sage focuses on the emotive sport of street-fighting in Africa. His work is a result of much time spent in the field, a huge respect for the boxers he has pictured and his love of shooting on the continent.
“It was six years ago when I first travelled to Africa and that trip had a major impact on my work. During my stay, I discovered a boxer called Wellington Balakas. His boxing was aggressive, but amazingly balletic. And this duality totally inspired me. Since then, I’ve gone back many times. During the last couple of visits, I found a little fishing village in Ghana, called Jamestown which is regarded as an epicentre of boxing.
“I’ve become so obsessed with light and colour that I don’t even own a TV anymore” The place is like a film set; only it’s for real. There are a few bars dotted around and they arrange street fights every Sunday to raise money for the gyms where they train. It was here I photographed this series of boxers and street-fighters. The crowds that form around the fights are incredible. They really get involved and it’s not like they’re having a little dance. The fights are for real. The noise as they hit each other really gets you in the stomach and even though there’s great showmanship, it’s deadly serious. And that’s what interests me about boxing; it’s violent at the time and yet, outside the ring, there’s discipline and focus. It’s controlled animal instinct. We all have this ugly dark side but boxing really allows every side of human nature to be expressed. On my trips to Africa I often use my four by five, large format camera on shoots. It’s big and heavy and a pain to carry around but using it, it feels like it slows everything down. I’m there with a cloth over my camera and shoulders not engaging with the subject in the same way you would with a digital camera. It forces me to be more considered; it forces the sitter to expose themselves more. I think the results are more beautiful as the result is a clean, graphic, filmic feel. And the way it handles light and colour is amazing. I’ve become so obsessed with light and colour that I don’t even own a TV anymore as I can’t stand that they don’t take the time to get it right. Whereas film, they wait for the perfect moment, creating imagery that takes time to unveil itself, which is exactly the feeling I like to create in my images.” Luca Sage is based in Brighton. Luca is an award winning fine-art photographer, working in Europe and Africa on commercial and editorial projects in the spheres of advertising, publishing and news. Luca’s anthropological approach and distinct style have seen his work enjoy critical acclaim across the globe. 9
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Technology is answering our need to share the moment. With increased interconnectivity through social spaces we are always on. Search for more #newtechnology
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The inherent humanising influence of portraiture is in greater demand than ever and is becoming key to brand identities.
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Telling stories Towards the end of 2012, we started to see a shift away from the documentary imagery that’s saturated advertising for the past few years and noticed some new themes emerging. Rather than looking back, the concept of storytelling moves the idea of authenticity on. We’re now seeing more and more surreal and beautiful imagery. And some of these stories have taken on a magical and fantastical aesthetic, illustrated through whimsical visions, futurism, romantic notions, distorted realities and eccentric imagery.
Holding up the mirror How often do you see diversity represented in advertising? Consumers from all backgrounds – cultural, religious and sexual orientations – are growing in importance in the US, the UK and across the globe. But many brands, and advertisers, still don’t seem to connect with the changing expectations of each group. To succeed, they’ll need to reflect the needs of all their consumers better.
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Our creative research team have identified four key insights for 2013.
A culture of invent
Cult-heroes like David Karp, creator of Tumblr, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim of YouTube constantly come up in our shared experience. But, what really excites us is how their entrepreneurship has helped create a culture of collaboration which is now a major boost to the creative industry. And that trend is showing up strongly in a demand for imagery of innovators.
Disciplined, confident, open minded, competitive, creative and passionate – those are just a few of the character traits we associate with entrepreneurs.
Increasingly urban If Charles Dickens were alive today, where would he live if he wanted to illustrate the next push of urbanization? Mumbai? Sao Paulo? Lagos? Nowadays, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, it will be 70%. Urbanization creates new opportunity, and people move in to cities looking for a better life. That’s how they’ve come to be linked to ideas of progress and modernization but, just as in the times of Dickens, challenges like the rise of shanties and stifling overcrowding face cities. Yet they still hold our hopes and dreams – which are reflected in a new wave of urban imagery.
Co-inhabitants of the planet; domestic companions; a source of food. Throughout history, our relationship with animals has been the focus of debate and, sometimes, controversy. In his latest project, More than human, Tim Flach encourages us to examine the ethical, political and social issues which revolve around this complex subject. “We consume more images of animals in a virtual sense than ever before yet, in actuality, never been so removed from them. In this piece of work I didn’t want to take a position, more I wanted to show the evidence and allow the viewer to reach their own conclusions.
The image of the cockerel, for instance, for me operates on different levels. There’s the indignity of an animal ‘without its clothes on’. You’re forced to ask, ‘Who did it... the stylist, the photographer? Is it alive? Is it a genetic modification?’ No. It is a natural mutant. In fact, the bird wasn’t a product of some Frankenstein scientific experiment but the result of simple cross-breeding with a natural mutation. The featherless characteristic means that the chickens are more tolerant of higher temperatures and do not require expensive cooling systems. And, while I wanted to examine the idea of animals as food, I also wanted to look at how we anthropomorphise them. How we see ourselves in them.
“We consume more images of animals in a virtual sense than ever before yet, in actuality, never been so removed from them.” Take the bat. For me it’s full of symbolism. The bat as a symbol animal of good and bad; drawn from the sinister overtones shown in our representations of Stokes’ Dracula and the Batman. Or the bat as a power for good with images that have been drawn from technology of echo-location and our struggle in the World Wars to defend ourselves against the enemy. And even Batman who puts the fear of God into criminals. The bat is the exception in that it hangs upside down. When we view it the wrong way up, it is surprising how easily we entertain this. We’re used to seeing eyes above feet and so it is in the bat image. Somehow, we’re prepared to entertain the theatre of it. With all my images I like things to simply reveal themselves. And I like to think I am open to how those pictures operate, within reason. Ultimately, it’s all about being able to respond to what’s in front of you and re-engaging with it. What underlines my work are questions about how we shape nature and it shapes us.” Tim Flach is based in London. His prolific career has seen Tim achieve numerous awards, and his work is regularly exhibited around the globe. He has undertaken commissions from a huge variety of clients as well as creating a series of fine art books. Tim’s technical expertise and uniquely innovative vision has positioned him at the forefront of his field.
ÂŠ Tim Flach
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The aesthetics of advertising continues to be inspired by social photography. The demand for authentic moments is still growing and we’re excited by the work of the Flickr community.
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What we’ve noticed is that what’s being uploaded aren’t just images, they’re experiences. What makes them seductive, charming and magical is the improvised and accidental feel that’s created by blurring or awkward framing. It’s the kind of imagery that just 20 years ago, we all kept at home in albums and dusty old shoeboxes. But, instead of being unseen, the introduction of camera-phones means we don’t think twice about sharing holiday snaps on our phone in the workplace
where, in the past, it would’ve seemed odd to bring a photo album into work to show colleagues. And, while social photography is so familiar to us nowadays, it’s easy to forget it’s still in its infancy and the future holds many possibilities for the medium. So what’s coming next? In 2013, we’re already seeing the trend for Lifelogging. Memory machines – wearable cameras which document our life every minute – have made their entrance onto the stage and we’re all waiting to see just what this will mean for the future of social photography.
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There’s nothing like a touch of nostalgia. Especially when we’re all worried about the future. But the subject has now saturated our advertising to the point where we are seeing a hunger for something new. Last year, it came along – in the shape of Netstalgia – a desire to revisit the aesthetic of the early days of the internet, where pictures are broken down into their simplest components. The evolution of this trend has seen it venture offline and back into the photographer’s studio. With a disregard for the perfection of CGI and re-touching has come an appreciation for the rough edges of the physical.
And this return to traditional picture making, fused with a passion for everyday objects, is creating some thought-provoking new imagery. From Sam Hofmans’ hand cut golden envelope to Justin Case’s colour coded uniform, the trend looks set to transform image making in the year ahead. The physicality and authenticity of the hand-crafted is driving this aesthetic away from perfection towards the real. Search for more #newcraft
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Photographers are returning to a hands-on, craft-based approach to picture making. Going the extra mile to painstakingly create images by hand, enjoying the time it takes to craft something that exists in reality. These pictures defy recent conventions, bringing a tactile and refined charm.
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A new generation of images.