Remain Calm with Kyle Bean and The Observer Magazine
Calm is an elusive emotion. It seems like the world is set up to stress us out – and for good reason. When we’re stressed we act impulsively, and not always in our best interest. That can mean buying products we don’t need or indulging when we normally wouldn’t. That’s for most of us. But some of us have to act valiantly under pressure, under stress. For those people, they have to find a calm in any situation where they can work from a place of power. That’s the topic of this month’s cover story of The Observer Magazine, and the publication invited Kyle Bean to bring the concept to life in a single image. Of course, Kyle went above and beyond.
Teaming up with London-based photographer Sara Morris, Kyle invested in an inventive concept that he was able to explore in a series of different executions. Remembering the old steady hand buzzer games where the player is meant to navigate a metal wand over a fixed pathway or risk a light and buzzer, Kyle created the same game but used the pathway as a way to communicate. In the first incarnation, Kyle spelled out “CALM” to be emblazoned across the front of the magazine. He kept it going by also engaging the light, and with those two images was able to create a GIF that shows the light blinking as if there were failure. A second version of the concept uses the metal path to illustrate an EKG’s reading of the human heart.
Both versions of Kyle and Morris’ creation play on what it means to stay calm under pressure, even when the challenge is the calm. These moments are indescribably crucial: Sully Sullenberger landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River or South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordering evacuation ahead of a hurricane. These choices can often involve the lives of thousands and depend upon acting with a clear head. Finding calm under immense stress is a skill and a tool, and one that you never know you may need until everything is on the line.
Does that stress you out?