Cameras and Film in White, With All Visual Branding Removed

New York City-based photographer and brand strategist Andrew Miller has finished his project Brand Spirit (which we featured earlier this year), a photo-a-day effort to capture a well-known product in a way that’s completely devoid of visual branding. For 100 days, Miller painted an object completely white and then photographed it on a white backdrop. Of the 100 objects he chose, three of them are related to photography: a Polaroid camera (#65), a Canon FTb (#86), and a roll of Kodak film (#39).

Here’s Miller’s artist statement attached to the project:

I am obsessed with understanding what it means to live in a branded world, where we associate our identities with the brands and products we buy. These images are part of Brand Spirit, a series of photographs I shot every day for 100 days. By reducing the objects to a single color and consistent scale, I found unexpected relationships between them. I never imagined a box of cigarettes would have such similarity to a box of crayons. Each image was chosen to represent a particular concept, from commentaries on consumer culture to celebrations of our most loved brands. My personal favorites honor technologies that have since been replaced.

After capping off the project with #100: Scrabble, Miller is now offering two of the pieces as limited-edition prints. One of them is the Polaroid camera:

The framed prints are available in various sizes in various limited quantities, and can be purchased over on 20×200 for $60 to $1200.

  • Dar

    The Canon camera says Canon on it. Branding seems pretty intact to me.

  • Sid Ceaser

    I have a friend/colleague who decorated his wedding/portrait studio with shelves of old cameras that were broken/didn’t work. Each camera was painted all white and then they were all displayed alongside of each other. It was actually a very fetching design element, and looked fantastic.

  • will hall

    wonder how this would look with modern flagship DSLRs…

  • Craig Dickson

    It would look less artificial if the original color of the product were preserved, with only the branding removed. This would be fairly easy to do with modern DSLRs, since their brand names are usually just printed on them rather than engraved. That Canon FTb, on the other hand, with its engraved logo, is still quite identifiable even if you don’t know much about classic cameras.

    “I never imagined a box of cigarettes would have such similarity to a box of crayons.” Really? They’re both rectangular boxes with the same type of hinged lid. The similarity is obvious. More importantly, though, what significance does he find in this similarity? Are crayons bad for your health? Are children dependent on them in a way that is somehow analogous to a smoker’s addiction? If not, then who cares that they happen to be superficially similar?

  • bob cooley

    He should have masked out the lenses with tape beforehand, these are now paperweights.

    The Canon is still clearly branded – some modeling putty and a little sanding before painting would have taken care of that.

    Sorry to be critical, but this could have been executed better. It reminds me a bit of a project I once saw where the ‘artist’ painted 2×4 planks of wood white, put a couple scratches in them, then wrote lengthy descriptions about the pieces, calling them “mother” and “childhood”, etc.

    $1200 for a print of this? I’m afraid not.

  • G

    Brand/identity is more than just a name or a logo. Apart from the fact that the Canon still says ‘Canon’, painting it white lets you see the shape of the product for what it is. What makes it a Canon, or is there perhaps, like with the boxes of cigarettes and crayons, no/or little true brand value in the shape itself?

  • Nate Matos

    It was a Canon FD 50mm 1.8, worth $10 on a good day. Not the end of the photographic world. Quite frankly I get more bummed out about the people tearing apart cameras to use them as lamps. At least this was a one off project that had a goal in mind. No pinterest crazy teens thinking they can be creative by ripping open old cameras.

  • Blog-G├╝ero

    Yeah I was thinking that with a number of his “subjects” — when the brand is embossed on the product, what good does it do to paint it white?

  • kendon

    canons are still engraved, not sure about others.

  • Craig Dickson

    Not the end of the world, but the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 was a very good lens. I hate to see a still-usable tool ruined, even in the name of art. Maybe it was already non-functional; I hope so.

  • Nathan Blaney

    I don’t think this is particularly well done. The lighting is what really bothers me about these – its inconsistent between images and the shadowing on the left is a hallmark of carelessness. These would be far better if the objects appeared suspended in this gray (its not actually, white is it?) space. The directional lighting creates the shadow and sometimes reflection and this greatly detracts. Shooting anything on white can be a challenge, but white on white can be even more difficult. The time spent learning how would’ve been worthwhile here.

  • Chris Russell

    I do not understand or grasp all the negativity here. It is ones creative thought, executed the way he envisions it as it is caught through his lens. It is personable, it is thought out and it is his form of executed art. The lighting is fine, the angle of lighting adds depth, contrast and character, rather than a flat object in flat lighting. I have never seen these items before revealed as Miller showcased them here. I understand his branding concerns and all it masks and all it does not, as well as issues it can cause in our society. The value of ones image can always be questioned but that remains solely a matter of opinion. One mans creative imaging is another mans viewing pleasure.

  • bob cooley

    Really? I’ve seen dozens of “unbranded” projects in the last couple of years, both by photographers and graphic designers, all better executed than this.

    I have no objection to anyone’s exploration of art, even if the subject has been done before; but if you are writing a strong thesis and artist’s statement about the work (and selling prints for $1200), the execution of the actual artwork should stand up to the aspirations of the thesis.

  • Thompson Colleen

    No kidding! I agree! I can take spray paint and cover stuff too. The magic of selling for $1200 is the tricky part…

  • Thompson Colleen

    Now THAT looks different and strangely beautiful…