Pink Floyd. Undoubtedly one of the most influential bands in the history of popular music, with lyrics that develop around oppression, alienation, war and insanity. “Inspiring” may not be the first word that comes to mind when actually reading these riveting lyrics, yet, somehow, the band is just that. Recently, Toronto-based portrait photographer Dan Bannister was inspired—not by Pink Floyd’s lyrics, but by the band’s equally legendary album art.
The cover of Pink Floyd’s album “Wish You Were Here,”—inspired by the surreal paintings of Rene Magritte—features two businessmen greeting each other in the street with an empty handshake… one of them on fire. The idea stemmed from the notion that people tend to conceal their true feelings for fear of “getting burned.” On the back of the same album is a faceless man in a bowler hat (très Magritte).
After shooting a series of images inspired by the cover, as well as a man in a light bulb jacket from the cover of “Delicate Sound of Thunder,” Dan created a photo promo that he felt was classy, original, and fit his personality and photographic style.
The promo differs in the sense that it is an actual object, as opposed to the standard postcard or emailer. All Dan needed was lamps, bulbs, costume hats and a careful hand, saying: “the only real trouble I had was in cutting the holes in the hats for the lamps to be uniform and balanced.”
Dan describes his style, and how it has evolved, saying:
Vintage and timeless styles appeal to me, and over the years, I feel my work has become tighter and more focused on details like this. I try to capture the perfect gesture, light, motion or mood, and because of this, it’s actually become more complex to produce. I like to light things in a way that isn’t at all obvious and I like being able to take a mediocre location and build it in a way that makes you think it was the perfect day in the perfect spot.
The promo is original, artistic, and most importantly, represents Dan’s style and personality. Each promo was hand delivered as a thank you to clients he’s worked with in the past, as well as a select few he would love to work with in the future.
Dan’s advice regarding promos is as such:
I guess I’d say that you need to make it personal and memorable. The cost of always doing a broadly targeted promo is far too great and you probably shouldn’t be expecting a direct return on the investment—so, targeting it to people who know and understand you is really important. Otherwise, even a really cool promo will probably not get connected to you in a permanent way.
Dan has received a lot of great feedback on the promo, saying that everyone thinks it is a “distinctive and memorable piece.”