Brian Doben and the Power of Truth
Technology is clean and smooth, but our lives are not. Straight lines of glass and metal come together to create the products that we use to engage the digital world, but as humans we’re messy, we’re real. Brian Doben knows what the complexities of a human life look like thanks to his long-running project ‘At Work’ that examines how people spend their lives and what they spend their lives on. So when Intel approached him to photograph their latest campaign he knew he was going to bring that rough edge into the imagery. He wanted to make it feel real. “What I’m learning more and more in journey within this world is that perfection is unobtainable because in every moment we’ll see things differently,” says Brian. “We’ll see a moment that should have been, could have been, but what’s important is the actual moment that happens. To really create ‘authentic, organic imagery’ is to allow it not be perfect.”
Creating that kind of imagery can be difficult, especially when you must do it to promote a product with professional models. Both of those aspects demand perfection, but Brian works so that his photographs are relatable. It’s a balance, and to achieve it he operates in a unique way by working with the models and their process. “I empower the person to own their space within it,” says Brian. “And then the challenge at times can be how I then have to capture the image because sometimes it’s easier to pose everything but that’s not necessarily how it would really sit on their desk or on their counter, so I ask them to turn it into the area that would really suit them best.” Once they’re able to live in the space on their own, objects get placed in different ways and their bodies shift to work with the room. It all comes together in human behavior, which gives the right touch of realism.
For Brian, this reverberates all through the advertising industry. His focus and interest is about sending the right messages to his audiences. He wants to be a voice for empowerment, not shame. “Let’s create relatable images, not aspirational,” says Brian. “I don’t want to feel bad for myself looking at someone else.” By creating compositions that feel more real, feel more human, Brian invites his viewers into the world he creates as a partner, igniting a little bit of hope and a lot of excitement.