Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Christmas in (almost) July

I thought that, in the middle of the summer months, it might be nice to have a reminder of the Christmas time of year; thus, this post.

This past December, a friend of mine showed me a 2 liter bottle of Coke he had bought in Accra.  Locally produced for the madhouse Christmas-market season, the plastic bottle's wrapper-graphics featured a black Santa with curly white hair and beard holding out a bottle of Coke in front of Independence Arch, Ghana's iconic monument to colonialism's end.

We were delighted with this bit of local kitsch, and set about figuring out how to use the bottle in a photo shoot.  I came up with the idea of trying to recreate that wrapper-graphics Santa scene with a street-found 'model,' like this:

You'll notice I gave up on asking someone to wear the Santa suit and beard.  But I think the hat gets the general idea across.

When I showed up at the arch around Christmas-time, camera gear dangling, I was immediately met by a short-ish, grizzled, middle-aged Ghanaian guy who claimed to be the arch's 'caretaker.'  He said he'd have to prevent me from taking any photos of the arch unless I got government permission.  But I simply stayed on course, setting up my tripod and taking a few test shots, all the while engaging him in conversation.  And, by the end of it, he was agreeing to be my first subject.

After that there was a line of 'models' waiting to hold the Coke bottle up in front of my lens, as passersby - and some local refuse collection professionals - got into the Santa spirit.

Now, if I can just meet someone from Coke's advertising department, I can sell them their Christmas 2012 ad campaign idea.

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