Missing the Point
I recognize that this comment will insert my EEEE wide foot into my EEEE wide mouth, but I can't resist.
Are you aware of the giant photographic controversy regarding Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin? If not, here is a place to start and the topic picked up steam in photographic circles here. Evidently, he faked the photograph — and won a World Press Photo and Picture of the Year International contest with this image.
The controversy is that he faked it; the elephant in the living room is that such a stupid, unimaginative, amateurish, banal, vapid, and awful photograph won anything. Yes, I meant to say that out loud.
You mean to tell me that of all the photographs there were to choose from, this is the best press photograph of the year? In the world? You've got to be kidding. I wonder how many of you would have even bothered to give this image a second look if it had been on your contact sheet, let alone submit it to a contest, let alone think its execution and message so worthy as to fake its composition?
This must be from The Onion or an SNL skit because I just can't bring myself to believe this is the best of anything.
Which brings me to the subject of political correctness.
- How much cachet is given to this photograph because it was made by a Magnum photographer? If it had been made by a first year photography student would it have been awarded a prize?
- How much cachet is given to this photograph because it is about the timely topic of guns? But what does it say about that societal issue other than a banal reinforcement of stereotypes? Beer, beer bellies, baseball caps and rednecks. Gee, how deep, how insightful, how meaningful.
How much do the Magnum/topical aspects of this photograph trump its boring image construction? Has photography reduced itself so that quality is immaterial, and that mere formulaic recitation of politically correct ideas is all that counts anymore?
I guess I'm just old school and think that a photograph worthy of note (or awards) should somehow be a good photograph independent of its political correctness. But, that's just me.
Feel free to throw tomatoes at will.
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