David Cronenberg Evolution campaign

This was hands-down my favourite project while at TIFF. I worked closely with Creative Director David Gee to get the look of this campaign just right, and it took a lot of tweaking.

I knew I wanted to use an image of Cronenberg’s face and centre the campaign around him. Because we were promoting a complete film retrospective – as well as a large exhibition of film-related objects, costumes, and props – using a still from just one film would have been reductive and too narrow in focus. I found this portrait taken by Toronto photographer Matt Barnes, and started to play with it in Photoshop. Once I started manipulating it the “old-fashioned” way, i.e. dragging it across the photocopier, we knew we had it. (Note: there was no Photoshopping done on the final image, aside from adjusting the contrast. That “smear” effect was entirely produced by me and the photocopier and a lot of toner.)

We got Barnes’ blessing to use the photo in the campaign (what a guy!), and from there it was just a case of setting the type and fitting in all the relevant  tactical information. After much trial and error, I created nine distinct “photocopy smears” to use over the course of the campaign, as well as some “noise” which I used as a background texture in the title and elsewhere. This process and result perfectly sum up the man-machine and analog-digital interaction that is so prevalent throughout Cronenberg’s films.