Special Report: Photography

In a number of ways, photography in advertising in 2007 is completely unrecognisable from what it was like 15 years ago, before the advent of digital cameras and digital picture libraries.

Nevertheless, creative directors and their clients are still on the hunt for the same thing: a striking image that delivers the proverbial thousand words, and haunts the consumers who see it.

That isn't an easy task. In fact, when five creative directors in the industry were asked to come up with their favourite images from advertising, some of them struggled (and in the case of Lowe's Ed Morris, he failed entirely, and went elsewhere for inspiration). Here they reveal some of their thoughts.

What emerges from the creative directors' choices is that there is no over-riding trend or look in photography in the ad industry at the moment. For example, the wave of Juergen Teller-inspired, washed-out, gritty realism does seem to be fading out in favour of a return to a more glamorous look for fashion campaigns, while"gastro-porn" is the dish of the day for food photography. However, no single photographer's approach is dominating at the moment.

Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of talent out there.

Also, Campaign investigates how traditional photo libraries are adapting in the face of competition from cheaper challengers selling user-generated imagery at knockdown prices and challenged one with a brief.

Finally, two of the advertising industry's favourite photographers have permitted Campaign to spy on the goings-on during a typical shoot.Unsurprisingly, unplanned water sources feature rather heavily - after all, some things never change.