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Tuning out met Wyne Veen (en Roald Dahl)

Random Pic(k) Of The Day For A Week. Nils Adriaans vraagt vakgenoten naar hun inspiratie. Ditmaal fotografe Wyne Veen.

Wyne Veen, fotografie Albertine F. van Iterson

Deze week was fotografe/kunstenares Wyne Veen, curator van Random Pic(k) Of The Day For A Week. Vijf dagen lang deelde zij haar inspiratie op de Facebook-pagina van Nils Adriaans (één bijdrage per dag).

Before we start:

Wyne Veen werkt en denkt internationaal, en omdat haar toelichtingen (nogal) nauw luisteren, hebben we besloten haar teksten niet te vertalen. Ze werkt op het moment aan diverse filmscripts.

Hier haar 5 pic(k)s:

1. Tuning out

The option to go backwards in time and keep views on life simplistic.

Visually & conceptually kind of mediocre, but safe.

'This is a promotional photoshoot for a local southern German wine store with a squirrel in it, which apparently is a common thing to create. The photos seem to be kept kind of simple. A squirrel and wine and a garden, I can definitely relate.

A standard use of lenses, nothing special, just easy on the eye, causing the pleasantly dissolving background. You have seen this depth of field so many times, it is normalized.

As a viewer of these images I feel like I know what happened in the creation process. A completely accepted and peaceful setting was chosen to represent a funny type of normal. Not unachievable to photograph it yourself, or to obtain the product that is presented.

A fine activity If you have the time and means to have a wine shop and make an Easter photo campaign that doesn’t need to convince a buyer to buy wine. He probably already wanted to anyway.

In some Western countries some extra effort goes into the celebration of seasonal and religious traditions like Easter and Christmas. It shows in highly decorated stores, and the ode to tradition is copied into private homes as well. Or the other way around, who can tell?

Some brands or networks honour these traditions as well. Think of the older commercials (and so values and beliefs) of Dr. Oetker, Werther’s Original or maybe some chocolate or cleaning brands.

The broadcasting company/brand Hallmark has some similarly special guidelines. Their romantic traditional films are immensely popular. When there is a shift in company regulations, it seems possible to just create a new branch with another name so production of the desired content doesn't have to stop. There are so many complex layers from viewers to creators, that these films often feel very much removed from your own reality which is actually part of the appeal. When we keep on seeing images like these (moving or still) it remains easy to morph into a mindset that tells us that whichever oddness is presented, it is all acceptable.

Thankfully we adjust broadcasting values all the time.

There is also a Dutch TV channel called Ons meaning ‘Us’ which is all about ‘our’ nostalgia - and it reminds me of the abject abbreviation OSM (Ons Soort Mensen/Our Kind of People).

I am fascinated by this option of dwelling in the past or living dream lives and not really adjusting your actual bubble. It appears to be a well desired choice for a large group of people. Especially with increasing intensity of daily bad news. I think a phenomenon like war fatigue, prioritising one war over the other, or leaving out severe climate worries is a more extreme result of the option to just look away.

Representation of reality is very hard to comprehend and reality just really is stranger than fiction!'

Extra: follow this account @fall_allyearround for more tuning out in a romantic fall setting

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'A completely accepted and peaceful setting was chosen to represent a funny type of normal'
'A completely accepted and peaceful setting was chosen to represent a funny type of normal'
'A squirrel and wine and a garden, I can definitely relate'
'A squirrel and wine and a garden, I can definitely relate'

2. The not knowing

Creating in a bolder, more personal way, with lots of in-depth knowledge, care, risk and complexity.

For your contemporaries.

'My choice for today: Earthworm, Isabella Rossellini's bizarre and hilarious look at sex in the natural world as she explores the mating habits of worms, as YouTube describes it.

Animals cannot talk of course, so you have to invest time and effort to try and understand them. Which goes for anybody without a voice. Try a little harder, give a little more.

Things hardly ever are as you think they are. I don’t know how anybody could use this vagueness today, but I do think it is a good constant reminder of the not knowing. Instead of avoiding the rising discomfort in relation to not knowing, leave it blank and open.

I think I am simply talking about flexibility or adaptability. Which apart from being genderless the ancient earthworm definitely is.'

3. Shift the work balance from postproduction to preproduction, which is where people generally still care more about a project

Creating for a large audience. Educational, fantastical, entertaining, big budget. Big fun.

Mostly man made special effects like in the Roald Dahl movie Matilda vs technically highest end methods.

'This scene comes to mind when thinking of DALL-E or Midjourney created images, which still don't make people feel a lot except fear of too much use of tech intelligence, losing out on visualization jobs or excitement of seeing business opportunities.

Of course this making-of story of Matilda is another film with a well thought out balance of showing and hiding the actual methods used, but it is about the idea of staying close to a more romantic MacGyver approach that does the trick as well.

In some departments we don’t really need upgrades or development or simply growth of options. I think that type of attitude should be a choice.

Here @circa1964 is a prop maker on instagram. The amount of time and detail he puts into his creations is desirable. I am not sure why we would want unlimited options in our visual creations or in our expectations in general, while suspension of disbelieve seems to work just fine.

I am all for embracing new developments and being selective where to implement them and why.

When I think of giant LED studios and the advantages they offer I get really excited when these technologies are used for good productions and cut lots of costs in the creation process in the meantime. And shift the work balance from postproduction to preproduction. Which is where people generally still care more about a project.'

Still uit de magische film Matilda
Still uit de magische film Matilda

4. A fantastical niche

Crazy beautiful perfume ads. Subversive & cliche.

Hollow glass sculptures with special names, filled with scents for people to communicate with each other.

'When you translate that concept into photo or film you get a lot of abstract freedom and room for experiment or when in bad luck, just a lot of cliches.

The high factor of oddness fascinates me and perfume ads remain a fantastical niche.

There is a Roald Dahl story about a perfume in the controversial book Switch Bitch, which consists of stories published in Playboy in the 60s and 70s. Scents are all about seduction, and some disturbing gender cliches and dynamics are often combined within perfume ads.

If anybody wants to contribute turning one of these stories into a perfume ad, let me know :)

Extra: speaking of disturbing gender cliches, this movie [Tomboy] shows some origins of the complexity of gender and our behavior around it in a super sensitive way. The setting of the film: we see a loving family and experience the innocence and preciousness of kids and their dynamics; the limitations our culture dictates are slowly introduced.'

Crazy beautiful perfume ads. Subversive & cliche
'Crazy beautiful perfume ads. Subversive & cliche'
'There is a Roald Dahl story about a perfume in the controversial book Switch Bitch'
'There is a Roald Dahl story about a perfume in the controversial book Switch Bitch'

5. That is where the heartbreak of the entire film really starts I suppose

'The film The 400 Blows is a good representation of some parts of life to me. Heartfelt, truthful, harsh reality with tremendous beauty. The story is personal, up close and messy.

I love the way the kid, Jean-Pierre Léaud, quickly tries to seal the deal with his claim to being a happy kid in the casting process (you have to watch this); that is where the heartbreak of the entire film really starts I suppose.

It is also great fun to watch him point out his mischief as a selling point. He plays it so tough, and seems incredibly vulnerable and powerful at the same time.

Sometimes it is hard to speak about films, when so many compartmentalized aspects are great, but when you feel so strongly about a lead character, lots is already said.

Watch the film - originally Les Quatre Cents Coups (François Truffaut, 1959) - here.

Thank you for your time!'

Jean-Pierre Léaud als Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cents Coups)  uit 1959
Jean-Pierre Léaud als Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cents Coups) uit 1959

Komende week is freelance creatief/strateeg Rufus Ketting curator van #RPOTDFAW.

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