- Rebecca Swift
Advertising uses visuals (predominantly photographic) and copy (text) to convey an idea or make an affective appeal. Typically, specialists in commercial images are commissioned by companies to produce imagery to a specific brief, including such considerations as image size, media placement, and length of campaign. Until the growth in the 1980s of stock libraries, which offer a wide range of images that are licensed for use, commissioning photography was standard in the advertising industry. The proliferation of digital photography in the early 21st century has also prompted the use of consumer-generated or amateur photography in advertising. Finally, whereas most of the history of advertising has been print-based, digital advertising now appears across an array of platforms.
As a commercial practice, advertising photography is client-driven; awards for creativity inevitably go to the whole creative team of an advertising agency and not just to the photographer. Nevertheless, influential photographers have emerged from this commercial realm. Advertising is practised around the globe, but its photographic history centres on London, New York, and Paris where agencies such as J. Walter Thompson, Reynell & Son (now part of TMP Worldwide), and Publicis were established early in the 20th century....