Look at those same old same old silly artists!


We at CWTP have noticed a very repetitive pattern stemming from our beloved ’tiser.  This is by no means a recent observation, in fact we suspect the trend has been with us since the rag has been our beacon of arts reporting from the very beginning.  But it comes into very sharp focus whilst viewing their recent ‘Look back at 50 years of the Fringe” feature on the adelaide now website.


On viewing these photos we noticed a lot of similarity and a distinct lack of originality in how the ’tiser photo journalists view the arts through their lenses.

So we took a quick tally.  Out of the 70 odd photo’s featured we’ve divided them up into the following categories of non originality, here are the scores.

  1. Show Pics (Happy) – Mainly pictures of artists from a show; sometimes on set, however quite often not, and instead taken on the street or in a grungy looking alley way, depicting silly looking artists (ie: with mouths open, pulling funny faces, leaping in the air, looking silly) – TOTAL 17
  2. Show Pics (Serious) – Mainly pictures of artists from a show; sometimes on set, however quite often not, and instead taken on the street or in a grungy looking alley way, depicting silly looking artists looking serious (ie: faces painted, with masks or faces obscured looking silly but making serious art) – TOTAL 12
  3. Opening Night Parade  / Crowd – Hardly any shots of the actual parades that the community (re: ’tiser) seems to so dearly love.  It seems the photographers retire before the parade even starts so they take a photo pre-parade with a selection of artists, detatched and out of context from their shows, often looking silly (happy version), often on a street or in a grungy looking alley way – TOTAL 11
  4. Poster Artist With Poster – Often an unimaginative shot of the person who designed that years poster holding his or her poster – sometimes shot is taken with silly looking artists in the background – TOTAL 9
  5. Silly Looking Artists on the Street – Can you see a pattern forming here?  This category is put aside just for those artists who are actually busking on the street and should be looking silly.  This is opposed to the artists who are photographed on the street or in a grungy looking alley way, detached from their sets and props, that put their oh so silly, funny and just plain craaaaaaazy antics into context. – TOTAL 9
  6. Award Photos – An interesting selection of self important photos reaffirming the significance of our beloved rags awards.  Often shot is of a journalist giving an award to someone who is not an artist anymore. – TOTAL 6
  7. Fringe Venue – Shots of creatively decorated Fringe Venue’s often depicted with silly looking artists looking pleased with themselves. – TOTAL 3
  8. Lano and Woodly – Yes they are silly looking but the Advertiser must like them so they get their own catagory. Brian Nankervis (now of SBS’s Rock Kwiz) also appears in two photos as well but he isn’t as identifiable.  We also spotted once SA based artists who have now become interstate paper pushers (ie: Virginia Hyam and Kym Hanna)  – TOTAL 2
  9. Fringe Director – There are two shots of current Fringe Director Christie Anthoney looking silly – we know it’s got nothing to do with the Fringe and everything to do with the way ’tiser has no imagination.
  10. Politician with Silly Artist – A curious shot of then premier John Bannon with a silly looking artist. An obvious attempt at making the politician appear voter friendly.  It’s a wonder Media Mike hasn’t taken up the opportunity recently.  Oh that’s right he only does FILM. – TOTAL 1

So there you have it.  We actually can’t wait for the 50th celebrations of both the Fringe and Festival proper in 2010.  However lets hope in the next 50 years the Advertiser’s photo journalists can actually come up with an original photographic concept and if you do happen to be featured in one of those future photos we implore you to try and not be persuaded to look silly … just good!



About weavesthyme

Weaves Thyme lives in Adelaide South Australia and therefore only thinks parochially (like most of the media based in South Australia)
This entry was posted in Arts Commentary. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Look at those same old same old silly artists!

  1. girldirt says:

    oh and there was that one of the Fringe Director with her face in the oven….WTF

  2. Flying Tadpole says:

    Could it be that sex is passe, so silly sells?

  3. Shandy Warthole says:

    Nice summary. Agreed tiser is the worst culprit but have you seen Adelaide Matters’ photo of the headquarters studio artists??? Awful stuff. I actually think I prefer to see silly old artists in a grungy alley! Could it be that artists need to be more assertive and refuse when the photo journo says “ok so climb up onto this step, clutch your umbrella and jump towards me while throwing one shoe in the air”? I think as an industry we get so desparate that we forget that we can say “no” sometimes…

  4. girldirt says:

    well said *shandy* – perhaps as artists we have to believe that we take risks all the time, and that saying ‘no’, is such a small risk in the scheme of the rest of the questioning and interrogation of cultural commentary. Saying ‘no’ as a collective would be the strongest form of artist led change. We must also question the publicist role in this and that the presentation of our image is often firstly in their hands.

  5. Arty says:

    I see your point, CWTP, but what would you suggest as an alternative? You don’t want artists looking “serious” or “silly” (and I disagree that the artists look “silly” in every photo you’ve suggested – in a lot of them they’re simply smiling, laughing, looking excited or performing. You know, possibly trying to convey that they are excited to be in Adelaide for the Fringe? Would you prefer they’re scowling?) and you don’t want photos on-set or off-set…what then?!

    As someone who’s worked a lot in Arts publicity in the past, I can tell you that there is never a lot of (a) time and (b) money to set up a shot which ultimately you are hoping will assist to sell tickets and get people to the event you’re publicising, above anything else. A lot of the time the arist/s don’t even arrive in town until the day, and the set is still bumping in, which is why different locations need to be found (but can’t be too far from the venue/accomodation: the artist/s will be juggling this photo with rehearsals, sound checks, last-minute shopping, other publicity commitments and possibly enjoying some down time). If we had million dollar budgets and a week in which to focus solely on it, perhaps there might be more scope and time to set up a one-in-a-million, Vogue-style shot. However I still think your “categories” really only highlight the fact that there are only so many different poses that these sorts of photos can be arranged in.

    And Shandy/girldirt, I completely understand the need for artistic integrity but artists who are keen for an audience generally are not in the habit of saying “no” if there’s a publicity opportunity available in our only daily paper, or indeed any publicity opportunity, full stop.

    (And no, I am not in any way affiliated with the Fringe or the Advertiser!)

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