These Olympus commercials from the 1980s show that attitudes towards gear never really change

Feb 21, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

These Olympus commercials from the 1980s show that attitudes towards gear never really change

Feb 21, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Those of us in the UK who grew up in the 1980s will mostly remember George Cole as the lovable rogue Arthur Daley in the TV show Minder, which ran from 1979 until 1994. But this wasn’t all he was doing. In the ’80s, he was also moonlighting in adverts for Olympus, along with legendary fashion and portrait photographer David Bailey.

These TV commercials advertise the fancy “new” all-in-one Olympus cameras, like the Olympus AZ 300 Super Zoom, Olympus Trip AF, and the Olympus AF-10, and they show that attitudes towards gear and elitism have never really changed. I think we all know people like this, even if just online if not in real life.

Olympus Trip AF – 1985

YouTube video

Olympus AF-10 – 1987

YouTube video

Olympus AZ 300 Super Zoom – 1988

YouTube video

George Cole really personifies the “all the gear and no idea” type in these ads, while simultaneously showing a pretty elitist attitude towards gear. As well as subtly reminding people he’s a “professional” with that camera strap. But ultimately, he just looks like an idiot. But George excelled in playing this type of character. He was an excellent choice for the role.

Funny, though. Most people in real life or in Facebook groups with this sort of attitude still look like idiots today. I don’t think they’re doing it intentionally, though, as George did for his character.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “These Olympus commercials from the 1980s show that attitudes towards gear never really change”

  1. Carl-Erik Paulin Avatar
    Carl-Erik Paulin

    Wonderful??

  2. Joost Avatar
    Joost

    No, I never leave the house – haha nice John