Friday, June 7, 2013

Natan Dvir: Coming Soon, A Huge Fashion Ad Near You

Fashion and commercial photography has exploded over the last few decades, saturating the urban landscape with giant, colorful, dynamic and static ads. Nowhere is this scene played out more than in New York City. Here, buildings and billboards are covered with huge ads with sexy models and exotic products. Most New Yorkers have become desensitized to this phenomenon, but to outsiders, the blaring product placements are hard to miss. Natan Dvir documents this craze for huge fashion ads in his project, "Coming Soon".

Natan Dvir is a professional photographer whose works deal mainly with the social impact of political and cultural conflicts. His past projects include documenting the lives of families displaced by armed conflict, to the physical manifestations of religious beliefs, to the everyday lives of teenagers in is native Israel. His latest project however is a 180 degree turn from the violent and depressing world of cultural differences.

In his project "Coming Soon", Dvir focuses his attention on the spectacularly huge and vivid billboards of famous fashion brands announcing the opening of a new shop in New York City. It was such a cultural shock for Dvir, seeing these ads up close on the streets instead of far up and away on buildings. In addition, most New Yorkers didn't seem to notice these glaring advertisements, going on nonchalantly with their workday while these towering pictures glare down on them.

Dvir's photographs show the billboard ads in their entirety. Because of their huge scale, people on the street in front of these fashion facades look ridiculously tiny. Viewers who look at his photographs might think that they're just pictures of fashion brands coming soon to the New York streets, but if they scroll down, they can appreciate just how huge these billboards are.

Because of the way they're placed, it would be reasonable to expect that these billboards would attract a lot of attention. However, in a city like New York, it seems that most locals are unfazed. The photographs become even more curious as they show people ignoring these loud commercial prints. This relationship between residents and their commercial environment is another level that Dvir wanted to explore.

These photographs cross the boundaries between fashion photography and street photography; it's a celebration of the over-the-top sexiness of fashion brands, as well as a matter-of-fact look at New York street scenes. On another level, these photographs can be seen as a form of appropriation art wherein the original photographers and graphic designers works form a large part of Dvir's new works. However, unlike other artists who simply take other artists' work and call them their own, Dvir transforms these ads using simple contextual components.

Dvir captures pedestrians, food carts, and lamp posts in his pictures, elements that would hardly be considered artistic subjects in most photos. Here however, the juxtaposition of the glitzy and glamorous fashion ads and the ordinary street elements of Manhattan create something more dreamlike than the ads themselves. Indeed, Dvir himself acknowledges that these photographs document more than just fantasy. According to him, "People inhabiting the space underneath are pulled, unaware, into a staged set, the reality of the street merging with the commercial fantasy of the advertisements."

There are more pictures of these huge fashion street ads on Natan Dvir's website. His "Coming Soon" project can be found here.


Fang said...

Heh, ads. Always fun to see them being used like this.

The Angry Lurker said...

I didn't get it at first but then.....

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