Half-Life

half-life
– a brief period during which something flourishes before dying out.

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In the late 90s, with the ban on tobacco advertising approaching, a well-known cigarette manufacturer ran a semi-subliminal advertising campaign. By combining American landscapes with cryptic phrases, they aimed to bemuse target smokers, and occupy their thoughts after they’d turned the page.

This series of double exposures records my reaction to the psychological hooks used to sell a deadly product. By layering images of departed icons on top of these magazine adverts, I explore the concept of ethical manipulation. While reflecting on my own sense of loss from the early demise of those I admire, and the holes left in our cultural landscape.

Those were the early days of the attention economy. Modern technology has cranked things up a notch, and those wishing to exploit our appetite for distraction have easier ways to do it. With thousands of adverts coming at us each day, our eyeballs are under siege. The casualty is our focus, the key ingredient for anything meaningful in life.

It’s been said, we have two lives – the life we live, and the unlived life of our aspirations. If our time here is the most valuable thing we own. We should ask ourselves, which one are we living?