This is a photograph by Paul Thompson
The idea takes the notion of a picture being the summation of 1,000 words to its logical, tongue-in-cheek extreme. Each part of the campaign is made up of exactly 1,000 words inspired by an image in Thompson's online portfolio.
Photograph Paul Thompson's promotional postcards
The aim is that each text will be sufficiently intriguing enough to draw the reader to Thompson's site where the photographs themselves appear. As well as posters, the four texts make up a set of postcards and t-shirts.
"I wanted to make a genuine attempt to convey an image in words, so that you'd have a good chance of picturing it when you're done – and so you would feel drawn to Paul's website to see how close you were," says Asbury. "At the same time, I wanted to highlight the comical impossibility of conveying a picture through language, because we all respond to them so differently. A picture is never just about how it looks, but what it makes you think and feel."
Jim Davies picked an image of a park bench to write about:
"[Paul's] work has a sense of the surreal, as if something's not quite as it should be," writes Davies on his Total Content blog. "I eventually plumped for an image of a slightly forlorn-looking park bench. There were no people around, and it looked like a perfectly grey, hum-drum day ... It struck me that this park bench must have witnessed all kinds of things, if only it could articulate them.
"So I gave it a slightly curmudgeonly voice and set about telling a kind of first-person day in the life, which gradually spirals out of control. The Chase then set the words beautifully to the shape of the picture. The results not only look rather fine, but gently subvert the idea of a photographer's mailer."
The pieces as framed posters
All four written pieces and their accompanying photographs are available to view on paulthompsonstudio.com/thousand-words.
Pretentiously self-indulgent 'industry joke' gimmick. Now... where's the gift shop? I need to go buy some gallery tat purely to calm down... grrrrrrrrrrrrr.
As much as I love Art & Design, its 'works' like this that fuel the recurrence of disillusionment. Was this concept the result of one too many Pimms?
Great, smart, surprising idea.
This is not a new idea. It was already done for the sleeve of XTC's 1978 album Go 2. This was designed by Hipgnosis in the middle of the Punk era. This is just an arty recap, nothing new. By the way Conceptual art has be dabbling with this kind of material since the sixties. Why does this suddenly require our attention???
Oh great, now i'm a plagiarist - http://kidsoftheblackhole.wordpress.com/
Strange, not convinced personally.
Where is the photography? I got bored by the third line of text, twist or no twist it looks too self indulgent and when framed even more so.
I THINK THESE ARE VERY GOOD.
As someone who receives 7-9 packs of photographer's cards a week, I appreciate the fresh approach. But it just plain doesn't work. Self-indulgent, poorly written, badly typeset.
Is is good or bad; who am I to say?
Do I find it visually appealing; yes?
It frustrates me that people can't see what a lovely idea this is. There is nothing more lazy than just sending examples of your work. I very very rarely go to a Photographers site after getting their cards but if I didnt know his work already I would totally go. What's more creative for a Photographers promo than not sending photography. I agree the idea is better in 'theory' and I prob wouldnt read to the end then try to guess how close I was but still it's a lovely thought. Jealous.
It seems clear this work has done its job. But there does seem to be something of a sense of humour failure among some commenters.
Surely this is just a lovely, fun, fresh approach to what is a notoriously difficult area in which to do anything different? Maybe you'd think I would say that, as a writer (and yes, I wish I'd written these). But that's short-sighted. This is simple, rather brave, and visually arresting idea, giving a neat twist to an adage we all recognise.
Maybe there is a similar record sleeve from 30-odd years ago. (I'm sure that was uppermost in the creatives' minds.) Maybe there are parallels with some conceptual art. Big deal. If we dismiss every idea with parallels elsewhere, we'll have very little left, if anything.
Lastly, I think comments like 'poorly written' require a bit of substantiation. If I told a designer his or her work was 'poorly designed' and left it at that, they'd be quite right to ignore me. More considered critiques please!
I like it and think some of the comms on here are a tad unfair
@ Jeffrey how man ideas in design are completely new??
Great idea and respect for to Paul Thompson for running with it. Surprised at the harsh comments its garnering.
Well said Mike Reed.
This is a classic peice of Chase work - simple and effective in thought, beautifully considered in word and craft.
That's all you ever need. Congratulations chaps.
I agree with Mike Reed.
Whether Paul is a good photographer or not, I'm going to make the effort to find out . . .
Hear, hear Mikes (Reed & Rigby).
Also, I think it's cowardly to leave your first name with no link too – if you're going to criticise, at least give reasons and be brave enough to open up yourself to the same process.
I disagree entirely. This is unique, witty and interesting to look at (well read).
A fantastic thought experiment that isn't pretentious in the slightest. I think that you'll find you're projecting that label yourself.
Also, if you're not into art or design, I think you're in the wrong place.
Interesting. It's a bit like a Jpeg really isn't it... the code that describes the visual
There's no such thing as an original idea.
Remember it, write it down, avoid being told it again.
I love it when an idea gets talked about. If it was mediocre, no one would care. Long live the brave client.
I think this is quiet interesting. Also, the comments above are unfair and unnecessarily harsh.
I did this exact idea for a project in college. A thousand words tell a picture.
got the idea from the Go 2 album cover. this is a record cover....
it's a classic idea and i like it, cos i've done it! : )
I, like other commenters, had the same idea around 4 or 5 years ago.
But to be quite frank... who cares. If the idea is appropriate and well executed, which it certainly is here, then carry on. SImple, direct and so different to all the other photographers promos that it will stand out.
It's a promotional piece for a photographer and it's got balls.
You're all now talking about Paul Thompson, and so job done. From here on his own work can do the talking.
Good to see there are at least some positive comments on here…
I hope everybody is going to Paul’s website to see the images for themselves.
He's a brilliant photographer. Well worth a look.
I agree with the comment above.
Clever (and beautiful) work.
Photographer's promotional cards are ubiquitous and blend into the mass of printed marketing postcards. This has generated discussion and interest in Paul's work.
My favourite thing about this concept? The photograph of the little stacks of postcards at the top!
Yes, Paul's work is rather good.
I'd much rather look at a beautiful picture than read a thousand words though.
@algy - no we're not talking about Paul's work, we're talking about everything other than Paul's work.
Therein lies the fail.
@Ewan - yes those cards are ubiquitous, but there are plenty of solutions that still manage to show the guy's work.
I guess this will appeal to those ironic designers that wear t-shirts with "HELVETICA' written in Times Roman.
Great to see my comment sparked a response. Just to clarify: I'm not saying anything is ever truly new, I'm always inspired as well. That is not so much the point here. I think it's just a bit snobbish that's all. (especially with the frame) It's a simple concept and it obviously works for a lot of you. It does not for me. To me this is just too boring and too conceptual. Of course it's a bit provocative to have a work for a photographer without photography. It's just that the work itself does not do anything to me. It is entropic and it's not meant to be read but pretends to be.
If you think I'm being unfair or harsh that's just silly. Everyones entitled to their own opinion, and honesty is important. You don't have to agree with me of course, but at least speak out and create a decent argument.
As a writer and the owner of EMuse Creative, a marketing/web design company, I actually think this is a great approach. I think it's smarter than people are giving it credit. It's not just as simple as "a picture is worth a thousands words," even though that is the most obvious connection. If you actually read the first example, it illustrates a key element in literary theory,which is words are imbued with connotation. Everyone would look at a picture, and depending upon their life experience, they would bring something different to their assessment of the meaning. I believe that's why there is a perceived purity in visual art that doesn't necessary exist in writing, but as this writer is trying to convey, pictures fall prey to the same painting on of meaning. A beach scene may make you think of a vacation you had or a hotel painting. It's usually not seen at face value or quantitatively. The picture is a sign (a representation of a beach landscape), but the signified (the meaning behind it) is produced in the mind of everyone who observes it).
I think this makes an interesting statement about art, and it also makes me want to look at the actual photograph (which I think is the point). Well done all around.
I find it amusing that there seems to be a classic case of 'the green eyed monster' when reading some of the posts on here.
Its a great idea that's been perfectly executed. Individually they look good, as a set they look great.
They're brilliantly written and beautifully crafted. Credit to all involved! For the negative commentors...look again.
My goodness, the Pimms appreciation society seems to have staggered out the woodwork in droves.
What I can't get, is this is supposed to be a public forum, to cast in informed critical eye over posts. But when anyone criticises a particular piece of work, they are in turn criticised for their views. I don't like this particular piece of work. I have let my personal feelings known, as others have also. But those who sing it's praises, why must you have a go at people who aren't tickled by this work?
Its pathetic, it really is.
And @ 'n' – when making a comment – at least have the decency to post your name and/or a link. And I can assure you, I'm in the right place. And transparent. So why hide behind a single initial (in lowercase)? Even the Jackal had more interesting aliases than that lol.
Really like this. It's up there with Pentone. I need to find time to do more work like this myself. I think it's inspirational for writers to see other copywriters getting out there and doing this kind of personal project. Keep it up guys.
Does each one have a thousand words?
First of all, let me declare an interest. I wrote one of these posters (the second one featured here), so naturally I’m positively inclined towards this work. Even so, while everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I’m a bit nonplussed by some of the comments here.
As it happens, the XTC/Hipgnosis cover that people keep trotting out was half-inched from an earlier Howlin’ Wolf effort, which goes to show there’s nothing new under the sun. All kinds of variants have appeared since, the latest being The Black Keys’ Brothers.
But as far as I’m aware, the idea of promoting a photographer using words rather than images is pretty original — please correct me if I’m wrong. The idea’s different from the XTC cover anyway, it’s not self-referential piece about the medium, but a way of showing that a good photograph can prompt all kinds of responses in different people.
As Candice points out, the 1000 words thing is only a peg. The main thrust is that a Paul Thompson image can trigger all kinds of ideas and associations, or in my case, send you off on a flight of fancy about an unfortunate park bench.
As for the type being poorly set, I must be looking at something else. Setting justified lines like this is no easy task, and it’s been done with real care and precision. I think they look quite beautiful.
Right, where’s that jug of Pimms?
@Jim Congratulations on being a part of this project. Honestly, I think when the internet trolls attack, it actually means you've done something quite extraordinary and people need some place to direct their jealousy.
@Jolt Of course this is a public forum where people should expect positive and negative criticism. However, I don't find the criticism informed at all. It all reads like sour grapes at best and ignorance of art at worst. To look at words on a page and say they are unoriginal without even reading them is preposterous. James Joyce's Ulysses was so unoriginal--it was printed on paper with black ink and bound with a cover. Be there, done that.
If I could have just posted a picture to describe what I think I would have.
Promotional conceptual art: what's not to like?
I like the thought process behind this, and the the way in which our imaginations can conjur up something entirely different.
interesting idea here.
I think this work is great- I was not sure about it until I spent some quiet time to actually read each of the narratives an dthen look at the images. The contrast between the four pieces of writing is interesting in itself - one is surreal and asking questions about perception- and inspite of its strangeness ithe content is also eerliy familiar; another is so funny ( the one about the park bench and its view of the world) asn the one about the school photo is so imaginative, and shows us that we all are able to over simplify and classify peoples lives into ridiculously short summaries, that say more about ourselves most of the time- than about other people. And yet the personas described are so recogniseable at the same time. And the one about the twins is just brilliant.
Insights to the authors and their lives to be found in the witings too... we are all different - perception is not a generic experience- art and design offers a means to learn about the experiences and imaginations of other people.
To read some people's comments on this blog you would think that it had caused them physical pain just to look at the work and that they would rather not have seen it . I find it a bit disapointing to learn that about them, but I suppose its useful to know.
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