“So God made a farmer”: A study in photography’s
pro-am divide

Here are two videos with virtually the same narration by Paul Harvey — but with dramatically different photographs. One is illustrated with amateur snapshots; the other one — which was shown during yesterday’s Super Bowl — is an advertisement for the Dodge Ram pick-up truck, and showcases images created by some of the finest photographers in the world.

Question is: When compared side-by-side, which video is more effective? more authentic? more believable?

Put another way: Which video calls attention primarily to the farmers and the lives they lead? Which video has you focusing more on the photographs of the farmers?

Which one treats the photograph as an illustration of a people, of a story? Which one treats the photograph as an object in and of itself?

Which video has images that could easily be removed from the video, framed, and then hung proudly on your wall without any supporting narration from Paul Harvey? Which video doesn’t?

Finally, are the executives at Dodge primarily trying to connect the viewer to farmers? to people? to a feeling? or to a very specific object?

Do you see the difference?

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