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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Pfister faking it

Faking it

This poster is from a campaign for Swiss interior design company Pfister, the tag line of which states that the inner city of Bern is being re-vamped. What the poster specifically refers to isn’t 100% clear (at least, there appears to be no reference to the campaign online), it might be a clever (or unwitting) cross-reference to the fact that many streets are being dug up to lay new tram lines.

The purpose of the campaign isn’t why I’m posting this though: the reason is photographic. Though the poster campaign features a few locations in Bern in which Pfister furniture has been scattered about, the image which particularly caught my eye is the one of a street scene, illuminated by a row of interior lamps. The lighting in the picture immediately caught my eye, as I have been doing so much photographic work with artificial light recently. It’s interesting that the poster works so well, despite a technical inaccuracy. The photo has been created to look realistic – as if lamps really were standing in the street – yet there are definite discrepancies if one looks closely. If the light issuing from the lamps is bright white, why are the spots of illumination on the road yellow? Why is the fifth lamp from the front casting no illumination on the road at all? Why are none of the lamps plugged in?

These may be pedantic points but you’d think that if you were creating such a cleverly faked scene, you’d do your best to make the illusion complete. Perhaps, as in so many cases of photographic imagery, the reality just wouldn’t be as good looking as the faked version. The eye of the non-photographer would probably not register the inaccuracies and the concept of the image is easily strong enough in itself to make it both successful and eye-catching.