One of the biggest challenges for a stills photographer is proving our value to film makers. With increasingly tight budgets stills photographers are seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. I think part of the reason for this is that most film makers see the process like cooking a surprise dinner for your live in lover – that the lover must be kept from the kitchen at all costs lest the surprise is spoiled.
So, what happens in many cases is that the work of the stills photographer is buried in the press and marketing archive to be pulled out once the lover’s meal is practically on the table.
Recently Larry D. Horricks (via IMDB) brought to my attention mouth-taped-shut.com the production teaser blog for the US adaption of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Like Larry, I’ve found this to be an exceptionally bold and innovative marketing strategy. Mouth Taped Shut is a “photo a day” project for a feature film. The blog has been scoffed at from some photographers about how much of it looks shot with a “hipstamatic” smartphone application. That criticism misses a rather clever creative decision with the images and misses the fact that this is a very clever audience engagement strategy. Its fair to say that US adaptions of European film are met with a fair degree of cynicism and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is far from immune to that perception. I think that the clever means of engaging with an audience that is likely to be less than receptive to another US remake.
I think its up to us stills photographers to work with publicists and PMDs to sell innovative approaches to the use of still images to engage with audiences without spoiling the surprise of our lover’s meal.
What do you think?