At the end of the day

Nothing today will be related to photography really.  You’ve been warned.  

I haven’t processed any film this month so far.  In fact I haven’t shot very much this month either.  Things have been a bit too crazy with my job.  I’ve had to work last three or four Saturdays in a row and I’m starting to get tired of it all.  Really tired and pretty frustrated and pissy and irritable too.  In fact if you know me, this is a smart time to stay away from me.  My attitude is shit, my patience is null and I will more likely than not argue with you over something that I don’t give a rat’s ass over rather than be amiable.  This is mainly due to the fact that if I can’t be happy than you don’t deserve to be either so fuck you and take your fucking seat next to me on the Noellert titanic.  

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I work in advertising which is very much akin to working for satan, depending on how you feel about advertising or capitalism as a whole. That being the case, most of the various people I come across, from clients at advertising agencies to fellow artists and technicians, producers and account folks tend to be good people.  Well not the account people, that’s bullshit, but pretty much everyone else–they are decent hardworking people who are just trying to do what they can.  Some of the creatives that I work with treat it as way more than just a job in fact.  They pour themselves into their pitches.  They stay up day and night trying to come-up with interesting decks that’ll tantalize the client into some new and interesting advertising dynamic beyond the 30 second spot and then everyone will be toasting with bubble down at Cannes, gold lion in hand.  

But that doesn’t happen.  What happens dear reader, as if you could give a shit less about the ad world, is that all of that hard work and interesting-concept-edginess, gets watered-down, watered-down, watered-down and all of the edginess gets eroded, eroded, eroded until none of the original artistic intent is anywhere to be found.  And I hear them all wail, 

“What happened?  My beautiful ideas are all ruined!  They don’t want to do something smart or edgy!  They just want more product and more logo.”  

To which my reply every time is a resounding “No shit.”  Actually, I usually don’t say it that loud.  To be honest…  I never say it out loud, but in my mind I’m belting-out that “No shit!” like Julie Andrews from a fucking mountain.   Advertising isn’t an art form.  It’s not.  We would love to think that we are making art when we finish off some awesome 30 second spot with some hot pretty-boy star for a Korean car company, but it’s a fucking commercial at the end of the day.  We are all hired because we are excellent craftsmen capable building a product to a certain specification on a certain schedule at a certain price.  Art never entered into that equation.  Do we require artistic skills to complete that product?  Oh hell yes, although I’ve seen many a talentless creative fail forward, fumbling though project after project without a single truly creative molecule in their body, the vast majority of folks who work in the creative-end of advertising that I get the pleasure of dealing with are talented, skilled in their discipline and really happy to be working.  So much so that they let the companies that hire them walk all over them.  Most of them are to nice to say no but most are even more scared to say no…  

There are certain clients out there that expect their agencies to always be available to them at all hours of the day.  So the creative and account teams work literally around the clock.  They don’t get enough sleep.  They don’t get enough to eat.  There’s infighting and treachery and scheming and conniving but most of all, there is gobs and gobs of fear.  Fear of their client.  Fear of their boss and fear for the other teams because they fear for their job. It’s a reality television show waiting to happen.  And that fear filters down through everything they touch.  So every other piece of the puzzle needs to be available to combat that fear, by jumping through whatever hoops those who are afraid need.  It’s a giant Donkey-Kong level and we’re all climbing up the ladders, ready to get knocked down by barrel after flaming barrel filled to the brim with fear hurled down the ramp by Donkey Kong with a giant Apple logo on his chest.  Once you lose your three lives trying to dodge those barrels, the games not over, the machine keeps going–there’s always someone new, straight out of school, aching to to lose their three lives on the level you were just knocked-off of.  So the barrels keep coming, faster and faster and faster every year.  In turn things just get crazier and crazier every year.  

And that’s where I find myself right now.  At the end of a crazy year having jumped many a barrel and wondering at the enormity of the hypocrite I can be.  This capitalist religion that I was born into, like all religions, is just another fiction–a story that people believe is a truth handed down from on high, whispered in their ear by a burning bush or a even a Scottish priest.  It’s a divine belief that people subscribe to in order to be part of a greater whole.  For the church of capitalism, that divine belief is that growth will increase capital which will increase growth.  Glorious isn’t it?  No where in that statement is there anything that doesn’t end like a game of monopoly.  There’s nothing in that story that cares for humanity.  For the environment.  For love or for family.  For well being or enjoyment.  Nothing about the importance of watching MOFI with the kids or eating meatballs at Ikea.  Nothing about drinking to much wine and fooling around with Anna Maria after the kids are asleep.  Nothing about Saturdays are for shooting surfers or Sundays are for trains.  

But at the end of the day, this is our church.  Shot on my Mamiya6MF at 50mm on Kodak Tri-X film, pushed +1 at the Icon.   

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