Ever since I was a child, I was disappointed by the mannequins seen on the high Street in the shop windows. To me they always reflected an unnatural proportion of society, I didn’t know anyone shaped like how they were. And this is a really big problem in the world today. Image. Irresponsible advertising is something that we as a society need to tackle. How we look at people in the public eye, celebrity culture, magazine shoots, photo-shopped images and the fact that even in this allegedly modern civilised world, we still use sex to sell, ultimately advertising by prostitution. We must collectively advertise positively and responsibly in order to create change in the right manner to which we need to happen in order for us to develop, evolve and find the courage to fulfil the potential that we have as a species.
I have no intentions of preaching here, I am not perfect and I have fallen folly to this myself and you will see that in the collection I produced “barbed wire” where I decided that to go for a shock image in order to get people to remember my work. I got there by a fairly logical train of thought that people don’t often remember the images they see of jewellery and that I’m one jeweller in a sea of hundreds of thousands trying to get their work seen so they can make sales in order to make money. How was I supposed to stand out from the rest? Well I decided to go with ‘shock’, something that would stay in people’s minds. Barbed wire is something that is an unfortunate negative invention of mankind. There’s been many a film, especially in the first and Second World Wars, where you see the soldiers caught and mangled, dead bodies hanging on barbed wire fences, possibly one of the most horrific things that we have used barbed wire for. The fact that it is designed to tear through the skin, the fact that it is that to cause pain injury and in the very best case scenario act primarily as a deterrent, it is not something that as a species we should be particularly proud of having invented. So, in my decisions to shoot the barbed wire I went for 3 different feelings of image, an elegant juxtaposition of the barbed wire against an almost Audrey Hepburn-esque look, a series of images of ‘attitude’ which is why I sort out a model who had tattoos in various different places that would complement the barbed wire, and finally that of trauma. For the trauma images I had a make-up artist put in some blood and bruising and scar work around the areas of the model where the barbed wire sat and we also gave her bloodied nose. The idea was not to suggest that she had been assaulted or in an accident, just that generically there had been some kind of trauma. Sex and violence, was what I was using to sell this work with those images. The images certainly stuck in people’s heads, which was what I was trying to do, what I failed to realise however that ‘not all publicity is good publicity’ and negative images create negative emotions. To depict my work on a bruised, bloodied, scantily clad, sexually poised, tattooed female is not responsible advertising.
So, having realised my mistake here and the fact that such a long period of time that I’ve been disappointed with how much irresponsible advertising there is, especially with regards to the thin female form, from now on I pledge to advertise responsibly. I will use normal people do show my work if it is to feature on the human form. I will even go as far as to use that faction of society that is the complete antithesis of how we collectively still advertise and market and promote clothes and jewellery on the skinniest most attractive most famous individuals of the planet. Joe Bloggs and Jane doe, or whoever is that wide cross section of reality, no, of actuality, of the world that we live in.