Note to oneself: be careful of press photographs.
Admittedly, night had fallen and the surrounding city-centre lights could have been confusing. And the vehicle wore dark paint. These might not be ideal studio conditions. Yet, my experience of the new Peugeot 3008 provided grounds to remember never to jump to conclusions. Despite being a tall hatch masquerading as an off-roader, the 3008 manages to look rather good. And it looks much better than the press photography or publicity material.
The images I have seen show a very intense, dark, shadowed world with a strong whiff of CGI and computer games. Much the same problem applies to a lot of print photography now (I have said this before). The effect of this that some important qualities are hard or indeed impossible to read.
In the case of the 3008, the bodyside has a subtly-shaped mane surface which looks as guided by principles of simplicity. It has tension though. The wheel arch surrounds then make for a meaningful contrast. The trailing edge of the metal-effect roof provides an entertaining bit of jewelry. The grille and lamps are still too much for me – it seems to be a widespread phenomenon though and Peugeot’s effort is far from the worst. From this instance, I feel that in contrast to analogue photography which tends to flatter, the current tech is underselling designs.
If this were music, the performance is being played back with the wrong balance. It might also be that in the studio the designers are thinking in terms of what will still look good when turned into press and review photography. The images are strident but unrealistic and many cars today are strident and overblown. As a counterpoint, images of classic cars taken using the same principles of deep shadow, high contrast and exaggerated saturation lack a lot of the charm. The glossy paint takes on a matte-effect; the subtle curvature is flattened.
I could change my mind again about the 3008 when I see one in daylight. So far I only have a city-centre night-time scene to go on. And the car might present another character in other colours (if there are any other colours). What is true so far is that the press photography has undersold the shapes.