Using beautiful women to promote products has been a common marketing method for a long time. The car industry is probably one of the biggest examples. Go to any car show and you’ll find models posing by cars or at exhibition areas drawing in attendees.
WARNING: This article contains a photograph with implied nudity. Do not continue reading through this article if such images are not safe for viewing in your computing environment.
Naturally, when you have something as testosterone filled as guns, advertising and marketing people will take advantage. Some in the firearms industry have used such marketing techniques to cater to their predominately male customer base.
One well known example is Dillon Precision who publishes their monthly catalog The Blue Press whose cover is adorned every month with a woman posing with some type of firearm, and who sells calendars featuring female models and firearms. Cathy Rankin is one model who is well known among firearms enthusiasts because of her appearances in many Dillon Precision calendars.
While I love firearms and I love women, I generally have yet to come across photos featuring a woman and a firearm that looked great.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few that looked nice from a technical standpoint; good lighting, excellent composition. But generally, the photographs just don’t make sense to me.
You’re probably thinking, “Why does it need to make sense? It’s a hot girl with a gun!” But I think I try to find meaning in such photographs because I do have a fairly heavy background in firearms.
Aside from that, many of the photos of women and guns just look really trashy. Just google “girls with guns” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
That’s pretty much why I haven’t made a concerted effort to capture such an image. I wasn’t sure (and could say still not sure) that I could come up with an image that looks good conceptually.
Every now and then I’ll try to come up with glamour concepts of a woman and a gun that would make sense. I just want to see if I could come up with a photograph of a girl with a gun that I thought was conceptually pleasing and wasn’t unconvincing or just plain dumb.
I did have an idea of a woman with a double-barrel shotgun in the desert, but that didn’t pan out for a couple reasons (though I plan on doing it still).
Last Saturday I was at a home in Beverly Hills with some time to photograph April Cheryse (Model Mayhem profile | Facebook Fan Page). April is a wonderful model so I figured if there’s anyone who I could risk putting together a photo like this with, it would be her. So if the shot came out horrible, then I knew it would be all my fault.
That said this is the photo idea I put to reality:
It’s a fairly simple concept. The reason I wanted to go for something like this is because, for one, your attention is obviously drawn to the model (I don’t care how much of a firearms enthusiast you are, you aren’t looking at the gun first). Second, the viewer’s attention is drawn down to the models lower body and then discovers the tactfully positioned Glock 27 subcompact pistol covering her up. So in that sense, there really isn’t an overemphasis on the gun in the photo. The pistol serves as a nice prop in order to accomplish the means of nudity without nudity (implied nudity).
I stared at the photo for a while (minds out of the gutter, please) and I do feel that the concept captured is sound. I do think the shot was able to capture beauty with subtle sexiness, without being classless or without a sense of taste.
From a technical standpoint, I do think there are a couple things I would have done differently. I’m going to keep those to myself, though. While I do like to criticize my own work in order to improve, I’d rather not air to the public how I think I messed up. *wink*
I have stated before that one reason I don’t like some “girls with guns” photos is because they don’t make sense. So you may wonder, “How does this photo make sense?” I think that’s best answered by saying that it doesn’t not make sense. After all, the model is in a bedroom with a Glock 27, which is a self-defense tool, so there’s no reason for her not to have it. Yes, I’m reaching in that reasoning. Maybe I don’t have an answer to that.
Anyway, I’m open to opinions from others regarding “girls with guns” concepts you think would work. Perhaps one will appeal to me and I’ll try to capture it.
I recently came across your site while researching for a argumentative english paper on mass media and the female image. My perspective is that using awesome looking women to advertise is hard deal with for those of us who are not satisfied with the way we look. I am 49 years old, 5 9 and weigh around 155. I am told often that I am a very attrative women who looks more like 35. However, I am still not happy when I look in the mirror. Anyway to get to my point, I was very impressed by your visual image. Maybe the fact that I am all for the right to bear arms and own guns myself, made me view this differently than some other women might. The way that you used this image I didn’t really look at the model that much but instead my attention was focused on the gun!! The other side of my argument is of course the advantages of using females in advertising products. I must say I would buy the gun if I didn’t already have it. Just wanted to share my view.
Thank you for your comments and insight with regards to this blog posting. I do agree that using attractive women (and men) to sell can be intimidating and attack the esteem of the respective genders. Whether or not it is right or wrong to continue to use sexual allure in advertising, is something I can’t even begin to compose a debate about. In all honesty, a beautiful half-naked/naked woman posing with a gun isn’t going to make me want to buy the gun. I think it’s enough to make me notice the gun, but to sway my decision? No. I think that’s where advertising is now. You use attractive people (e.g. celebrities) to advertise simply to get people to notice the product. If the product is actually good, then people will buy it. For example, Skechers aired a commercial during the Super Bowl with Kim Kardashian to advertise their shoes. I find Kim Kardashian incredibly attractive. Yet, I have no desire to even buy the shoes simply because they won’t work for me. I make the cognitive determination after I’m drawn into the product whether or not it’s worthwhile to me.
I’ve attended the SHOT Show (the big annual industry firearms show) the past few years as Media/Press. At the last SHOT Show in January 2011, I was sitting in the Press Room drinking coffee and overheard some gentlemen discussing how their company had hired a couple of models to pass out documentation/flyers at their booth. One of the men made the inquiry to another whether the models were necessary and the other replied with something to the nature of “unfortunately, that’s how you draw in attendees.” (not an exact quote)
Anyway, the whole issue of body image and women is going to continue be a hot topic in society. When you have Abercrombie and Fitch making and selling padded bras for girls under 12, you know there’s a problem.
Again, thanks for your comments, I’m going to email you directly this response in the event you don’t see the update alert via wordpress.
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The jive turkey
Obvious photoshop job. Nice try but you can see where the g27 was inserted into the photo. Dillon does the best with these types of things. I suggest there if thats where your journey takes you.