Dean O'Brien's Blog

The ideal life..

with 2 comments

Whenever I show people a range of my images from Ukraine they always comment about the amount of adverts that I show them.  From huge billboards on the roadside to those displayed on the side of marshrutka’s, the adverts are an instant attraction for me.  They often show a way of life not possible for the majority.

Sometimes I feel there is a hidden meaning within the adverts, be it political or otherwise.  I remember my final year in university reading ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger.  When referring to adverts there he quotes ‘For many in Eastern Europe such images in the West sum up what they in the East lack.  Publicity it is thought, offers a free choice.’  I couldn’t have put it better myself.

LIke the image below shows, the adverts display one thing and the reality is somewhat different.  With Independence Day celebrations just around the corner, the cynical amongst us could wonder what exactly many are celebrating.  Life is still tough….

KS7C1303_web

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Written by Dean O'Brien

August 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Posted in Ukraine

2 Responses

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  1. Hi Dean! I just came across your blog and am excited to start following your posts : ) Ads in Ukraine fascinate me too… they’re everywhere, on every possible surface, it’s impossible to even ride in an elevator without seeing at least a “cheap! high-speed!” internet ad. And it seems like all of the billboards around are the rotating kind that change to show about three advertisments in as many minutes.

    In regards to the drug store ad above that you photographed- have you noticed that ads tend to feature families of three? Occasionally they’ll be two kids but most of the time it’s Mom, Dad, plus one kid. I always thought that was interesting… is it supposed to be representative of actual Ukrainian families or not?

    crazyaboutukraine

    August 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    • Thanks for following and I’m glad that you are enjoying the posts.

      It’s interesting that you also enjoy the adverts that they have over there. I’ve photographed hundreds of them so should really make time to edit them down into a body of work or small book. I can’t honestly say that I have noticed the ‘families of three’ connection but you can guarantee that I will be looking in future!

      From my own personal experience this is not representative of actual Ukrainian families. The adverts seem to attempt to sell an ideal ‘western’ life. Ironically enough, only achievable for many by actually leaving Ukraine.

      Dean O'Brien

      August 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm


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