American historians believe that the first advertising photographs appeared in the 19th century.
Of course, they were not as bright and beautiful as they are today. Over its rather long history, advertising photography has formed as a separate area with its own technical features of shooting and ideas about the effectiveness of its creation.
The emergence and development of advertising photography
The active use of photographs as advertising for goods began in the late 1920s. the last century.
In publishing houses and advertising agencies, “advertising art” departments began to appear that specialized in photography. Photo artists, whose work belonged to various avant-garde trends, turned to commercial photography.
Advertising was done by photographers such as Man Ray and André Kertész. François Collar founded the photography studio Dreager.
Professionals in the field of sales and promotion of goods understood that a photograph would inspire more confidence in the consumer than a drawing. Kollar’s photograph of a typewriter with buttons so sensitive that they respond to the weight of a feather is much more convincing than any hand-drawn picture.
The heyday of advertising and commercial images occurred at the peak of the formation of a consumer society – the middle of the last century.
Features of commercial photography
Now many popular photo artists are attracted by the commercial genre, and with it the prospect of wide recognition of their work. The photographer and the product company enter into a relationship that aims to validate their image.
Popular photo artists are known to collaborate with prestigious companies.
Advertising photography is the result of many professionals, not just one photographer. Assistants, make-up artists, technicians – a whole team take part in the process of its creation.
It takes a lot of people to carry out expensive advertising photography. As a result, this system is gaining momentum and it is almost impossible to stop or redirect it in another direction.
Outstanding Commercial Photographers
There are also commercial photographers who work for pleasure. But the peculiarity of commercial photographs is that they belong to the customer, and, therefore, the photographer cannot hold an exhibition of his work.
However, there are exceptions. For example, Guy Bourdain, an outstanding photographer of this genre, is also one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, and his work had a strong influence on the art of this time.
The works of the photographer Kertesh became part of the history of photography in the last century. The same can be said about the photographs of such masters as Blumenfeld and Irving Penn, whose works first had a commercial focus, and then entered the canons of the history of photography.