Header Images: Left- Anthony Carey – Alexandra,The Keystone Right- Newnes’ Pictorial Encyclopedia, Volume 9, On things that interest you and me. A stone Key.
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(1083) Lauren MJ Mason - The women off the telephone adverts
The Telephone and How it works – The Hand microphone and its parts.
The concept of the telephone became the push-off point for my visual research regarding this work, which resulted in the study of archived telephone advertisements. Not commonplace in the home until the 1960’s, I was intrigued by what promotional material had been used for the persuasive dissemination of this item, and what specific people were used to make this object attractive.
It was found that within moving images, men were almost always displayed as the sole confident user of this device. In the printed adverts, 1950’s housewives were usually shown laughing, smiling and twizzling their phone cords in flirtatious fashions. Unsurprisingly, there was found to be little-to-no diversity within the mainstream advertisements, and women were almost always shown to be discussing the home, or recipes. What else did women of the 60’s really have to talk about?
I wanted to create a piece which playfully represented the women off the telephone adverts. With the absence of the presumed man on the other end of the line causing these ladies to blush and swoon, they began to appear as if on the phone to each other. Gazing across. Peering down. The women started sweet-talking one another. A scandalous idea of the times.
In the lack of the male figure, the women of the phone adverts are empowered, juxtaposed with “their” advertisement words, they display the fun there really was to be found at the end of the telephone.
Interested in analogue processes and equipment, Lauren plays in the crossovers between the digital and analogue world. Predominantly interested in appropriation and where this crosses over into screen, she uses the camera, or anything with a similar function, to draw attention to the instants that we overlook, celebrating human curiosity and probing the moment.
Absorbed in the regularities of life, Lauren is fascinated by the evolution of society. Her curiosities manifest through observations of conformity, by penetrating and pushing how far photography has gone within our lives, and how much further it could go.
The functions that photography has played in our society through advertising take the forefront of her current work. Looking at how products are represented to us, questioning the emotions that companies evoke with their products, and considering whether we can ever really quench our ongoing thirst for these products. In a world that is oversaturated with images and damaging the planet with consumption, Lauren’s work is a small pin in figuring out how photography, ideas about photography, or conversations about photographs, could make a small difference towards a better future.
Lauren holds a BA in Photography from The University of Brighton (2017-2020). She was recently selected by The Photographers Gallery for their Instagrad Class of 2020 and by Photo Fringe for their OPEN 20 Moving Image awards. b.1994 in Coventry (UK), she is now a Brighton based artist.
Link to Lauren’s Art Aviso profile HERE
Lauren was provided with the following page from Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia:
The Telephone and How it works
The Hand microphone and its parts