What happens when you take the words out of advertising campaigns? Well, you're left with thought-prokoving and questionable images wondering what they are actually trying to sell. Photo conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas had his work on display in New York at his Unbranded: A Century of a White Woman exhibition. The wordless advertisements have been edited by Thomas to unearth the possible meanings behind the images- without words. He strips the image of all its commerciality and leaves the reader to depict with its remains. So then, what do you think the images mean?
I wonder how we would all react if all images were stripped of their words. Our culture is so used to sexualised images creeping their way into our media, and more than often don't look twice. We react differently to the exposure of things our eyes usually don't see.
I stumbled across these images online earlier this week as I was doing some research, and felt compelled by their rawness of the advertising industry. It's not everyday you see something so exposed; so provoking; so deep in meaning. What does the image below say to you? An advertisement selling a game (what it's trying to sell) is not what first came to mind.
The theorist Roland Barthes says an advertising image is 'the most intentional sort of image,' and that it's message is direct and empathic. Thomas is tapping into the viewers emotions, and after taking what really is the most important part of the ad away, leaving us to think for ourselves.
I honestly wonder how we would all react if wordless ads became a part of our society. Would we still buy the product, or would we react quicker to the deeper message lying behind the brand?