Truth in Photography

Sparks

When you’re making a film you need to deal with things like technical accuracy, especially in Hollywood films where there’s the need to tell a compelling story. (Just take a look at the notes for Apollo 13.)

Incidentally, in advertising and marketing we’re also beholden to accuracy. I’ve heard it said many times in this industry that while an agency can make a company look great, it’s up to the company to deliver stellar products and services. Without those things, all the marketing in the world won’t help.

So the photo above is one I took while in a welding class last week. It’s one of those classic shots of a welder wearing a mask with lots of sparks flying. It makes a great photo, but as I learned, it’s not exactly what you want to see as a welder. The instructor told us that all those sparks are a bad thing, and the way you know you’re doing a good job welding has to do with minimal sparks, and the sound, which should resemble sizzling bacon.

Since you can’t convey the sound of sizzling bacon in a photo, and a photo with a small amount of sparks looks less exciting to most people than a photo with lots of sparks flying… this is what we end up with for many welding photos.

In the end I think we walk this fine line (just like Hollywood does) of telling a truthful and accurate story, that is also interesting and compelling.

September 12, 2011 · Posted by in marketing, photo  

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