Photographer Joseph Desler Costa’s exhibition “Soft Powers” is based on the concept of gently influencing ideas, subtly shaping human desire through appeal and attraction.
As a political concept and strategy, soft power reached its peak in the 1980s and 1990s during the Cold War. In the U.S. companies found new ways to influence behavior through sugary branding and corporate messaging driven by Coca-Cola, Hollywood, and other vehicles of consumer culture.
In his “Soft Powers” series, photographer Joseph Desler Costa uses the language and symbols of advertising and propaganda from those two decades to reflect on the power of persuasion.
Costa combines multiple exposures, appropriation, and laser-cut, layered prints, to create images that look almost mass produced or machine made—as if they were rolling off of an assembly line.
“I often re-photograph my own images and incorporate them into new pieces to further drive this feeling of sterile reproduction,” the Brooklyn based artist says.
The works are pastel-hued, product-like images that often incorporate recognizable logos, graphics, and album art laser-cut into the aluminum print surface.
“Soft Powers” images replicates advertising’s ability to create desire and manufacture beauty.
“Soft Powers” by Joseph Desler Costa through May 29 at ClampArt, 247 W 29th St., New York City, clampart. com
All photos by Daniel Terna. Courtesy of the artist.
• • •
Frame your finds with StyleCarrot partner Framebridge >