Sometimes, when things get really bleak — and, if you haven’t heard, 2020 has been like that — all you can do is throw your head back and laugh. Maybe because something’s actually funny or maybe because it’s the best way to keep from crying.
Take overpriced toilet paper, for example. Is it funny that doomsday profiteers stock up on the stuff and then upcharge online at absurd rates? No, not at all. But it is funny to take that idea and turn it on its head, which is exactly what Jens Kristian Balle did en route to winning gold in the Advertising/Self-Promotion category of Prix De La Photographie Paris’ recent photography competition. Now this is funny:
I submitted images earlier this year, this one in particular was made while we were self-isolating and not much else work was happening, the piece was later used in an email campaign to stay in touch with my creative contacts.
You might not notice it at first, but this image speaks volumes about Jens’ background and upbringing. This photograph is, for multiple reasons, quite Danish in nature.
I grew up with a lot of Scandinavian and in particular Danish design, which is very minimal and clean in nature. We also have a very distinct dark and quirky humor in Denmark that I think affects my work quite a bit too.
The image was conceptualized while self-isolating in the spring where one of the news stories were people hoarding toilet paper and how stores where all sold out, so the image was a fun take on that whole scenario where toilet paper was suddenly this high value item.
It wasn’t difficult for Jens to execute this shoot. In fact, the toughest part was “finding the right size tray with the right proportions” to fit the roll. Everything else was a snap.
Label was pretty straight forward, just made it in photoshop and printed it out on printable sticker paper. The two background colors are reused from a failed image years ago — I always really liked that combo and glad I finally got to use it.
I had to ask Jens if he picked that price ($24.16, by the way) on purpose. Though he didn’t, the message got across enough for him to win gold — and make more than a few people chuckle in the process.
Now when you ask this question I kinda wish I had put some thought into it other than I wanted the number to be outrageous for a toilet paper roll.
See more of Jens’ work at jenskristianballe.com.
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