Chrissie Macdonald Constructs Consumer Confidence
CGI is incredible. Literally anything is possible by painting pixels on a screen. Any reality can be synthetically manufactured, but that kind of unbridled creation is not always what you want. When AT&T and BBDO conceptualized their latest campaign, they could have gone anywhere to create any world or image they could imagine but they came to Chrissie Macdonald who would sculpt something in the real world. Where CGI is about trickery and fooling the eye into believing what it sees is real, Chrissie works in paper craft, so everything you see is tangible and real.
Using cut paper, Chrissie created the images completely by hand, and then photographer John Short shot them in the studio. Finally, they added a few retouched enhancements. Those minor enhancements add an extra level to the feeling of the images. Chrissie explains that it "does give them a sense of hyper-reality although once viewed closer up, the paper textures and slight imperfections are visible." Imperfections are inherent in anything that is handmade, and even if they're not registered consciously, the eye does perceive them and incorporate them into the experience of the image. It gives a tangible feeling to the pieces making them accessible and fosters affinity.
That minor perception of reality is important, especially for this campaign. At a time when digital cloud storage is under a microscope, the consumer is hyper aware of confidence and security. This is a time when form helps tell the story. The tangibility of Chrissie’s work roots it in the real world, while also adding an extra level to the production of the image. “I enjoy the physical process of creating the objects and positioning them on set to achieve the most effective composition,” says Chrissie. Even if it makes for long nights.
Working on a tight deadline meant that Chrissie and her team had to construct all the images in a protracted timeline, but that’s okay when you surround yourself with the right people. “It was really fun working with my assistants who are so funny and upbeat,” she says. “They always keep things cheerful even when you're up against it in the wee early hours.” Her assistants weren’t the only wonderful people to work with. “There was a lot to get done in the time due to my process so there were some long nights but John, the Creative Director from BBDO was always quick to respond and really positive,” she says. That kind of creative, collaborative relationship is crucial when working on pieces as labor intensive as fully constructed cut paper images.
Setting up everything around her, including wonderful people and flawless techniques, Chrissie was able to construct her complex and provocative images that told the story in a way that no other style could have.