12 - 5:59 AM, Jul 20 (2022) (Asia/Calcutta)

OPEN CALL: CPB - Living with Images

In the cities in which we live, all of us see hundreds of publicity images every day of our lives. No other kind of image confronts us so frequently.
In no other form of society in history has there been such a concentration of images, such a density of visual messages.

One may remember or forget these messages but briefly one takes them in, and for a moment they stimulate the imagination by way of either memory or expectation.

John Berger, 1972

John Berger wrote about publicity images in 1972. The only avenues of display of advertisement images then were in the physical space, on the streets in the form of billboards and posters, and in the form of publications, newspapers, and magazines. Today, this remains relevant in an especially exaggerated manner, when our exposure to publicity/ad imagery through the avenue of digital marketing, the webspace is taken into consideration.

This leads to questioning the role of the advertising industry as the creators responsible for the outspread of publicity imagery. Other than sharing information, does it address/represent/mirror society? Do images hold a social responsibility towards the consumers of publicity images?

The power and virality of an image cannot be undermined in today's algorithmic environments. While selling products, ads also sell a lifestyle, a world view and more often than not, an idealized vision of how the consumer should be in 2022. These lifestyles are conceptualized having a specific target audience in mind and yet we all end up being targeted. Is the responsibility of the campaign designer/creative director/visual artist restricted only to the company they work for? Does imagery in ads resort to only meeting the campaign brief in order to tick all the ‘right’ boxes?

How could ads be more inclusive? Inclusive of diverse body types, of gender, challenging the notions of caste, of outdated and unfortunate traditions? How could a socially and economically responsible, inclusive and diverse campaign look that doesn´t fall back on tokenism? How can the circle of misrepresentation and underrepresentation be broken? Can advertisements nudge the consumer/viewer to rethink their participation and stance by reconstructing what their images represent?

We invite photographers and artists preferably but not restricted to working with photography for commercial promotions to share a set of works that relook at the ethics of representation in images and to present their own ethos in the form of imagery that is sensitive and inclusive. We nudge the artists to explore the idea of constructed and reconstructed images, to look at the recent and not so recent history of publicity images to formulate their bodies of work.