Discussion in 'News - Discussion' started by Benchista, Dec 22, 2005.
Or so it would appear - Schweppes have dropped a certain photo competition, according to the BJP.
I do hope this means what it ought to mean, and isn't just a flash (no pun intended) in the pan.
perhaps it was due to all the bad publicity
and the cr@p photos!
darn, i had some ideas for next year's entry... :|
And so had the rest of us on the forum. Well we'll have to see what replacement is made and enter that.
The whole episode strikes me as rather sad - any money lost for the promotion of photography is not a good thing IMO - and I believe it also reflects badly on AP whose campaign to discredit the winning entries seemed nothing short of a witch-hunt. Would they have done the same had the sponsor been Nikon or Canon I wonder.
Ric Bower's reply in the BJP stated the case rather well, I though, and roughly mirrors my own thoughts on the the matter.
Merry Christmas to you all.
Have to agree with Alan in general. Although its perfectly fair to suggest the winning photos were not of the first order, the "green ink" style outrage about the comp this year has been OTT in my humble opinion.
I would suggest that the winning entry probably needs to be seen as one of the series of which it forms a part, rather than in isolation. At the very least, the photographer's comments shed much needed light. These can be found in the soft cover booklet of the competition, but briefly, she was taking pictures of a group of youngsters in Poland when she turned and saw the girl holding the baby. This girl wasn't interacting with the others, and the photo does suggest a degree of isolation; even perhaps from the baby she is holding (whether inwardly or outwardly generated who knows).
I agree with the Alan, when anybody pushes a boundary, or tries to be different, then they are sometimes pushed in the wrong direction and possibly mistakes are made but surely thats how photography is kept fresh.Unless we keep experimenting how can we move forward (or at least moving somewhere) Safe doesnt really get us anywhere, except all to the same level taking all the same photographs.......... Traditional is fine but even what is now traditional was once considered `different`
Mmm... I think I have to say I'm on the side of AP on this one, while I agree that money lost to promoting photography is a sad result, I think any other response would just have been pandering to the fact this was a "Big" competition. As for whether they would have said the same if Canon or Nikon had been the sponsor, yes, I think they would have done (if it were at all possible for them too, that's one of the problems with a magazine that is funded largely by advertising, however their reviews have always been fair, even when fair means saying how bad something is) but then, I can't see Canon or Nikon having a photography competition where that type of entry would have won.
I don't think the sponsor made any difference - I am certain it would've had the same level of criticism regardless, probably rather more if it was a more photographic-industry sponsor. I don't accept for a moment that AP cowers from criticising advertisers, there has never been any evidence of that and I doubt if Garry would tolerate it.
Now, as to if the criticism was deserved - well, I personally thought the stuff more understandable than the Kobol. My initial reactions were very negative, but actually quite a bit of it grew on me. I don't agree at all with Ric Bower's first comments on the subject, which I felt were hubristic and self-serving in the extreme - but I am a bit more in tune with these comments. I think there is a twofold problem - many people struggle, or indeed refuse, to appreciate anything different, and the judges likewise struggle to promote anything other than the trend of the moment. The facial expressions of many of the subjects were striking, and although none of it was particularly to my taste, the same goes for portraiture in general. I did think that there was some progess in a direction I'm more in tune with this year, at least compared to the Kobolic past. So - I don't really like it, but I could start to appreciate it, at least.
Just to clear that up, I never meant AP would cower before sponsors (as I said, I've never seen anything like that from them), but I imagine you do still have to be careful in what you say...?
But the trouble is this stuff wasn't 'different' - it was as blandly formulaic as any portraiture possibly could be. Subjects standing stiffly, arms at their sides, blank expressions, staring vacantly at the lens isn't 'different' - it's just vapid. The photographers in this current fad seem to have no input at all - they don't do anything positive with lighting, or exposure, or posing, or composition, or backgrounds, or anything at all - there's just no creative input whatsoever. The fad seems to be 'do nothing'.
Well, so be it. But then what on earth is the prize for? What's all this business of ranking different examples of 'doing nothing' above each other? How can one person's 'doing nothing' be worthy of a prize over against another's? It's just meaningless. That's why this sort of thing gets people's hackles up - it's the photographic equivalent of a pile of bricks or a line of dirty washing in the Tate. This sort of portraiture takes zero skill, zero inspiration, zero creative input, and zero effort - there's just nothing of any value being put into it by the photographer. If the subject's expressions are that striking (lost on me, I'm afraid - they all look equally blank to this observer) then give them the prize - I can't see that the photographers have done anything worthy of it.
Please bear in mind that I'm not great with words, so getting my thoughts down on a flat panel monitor does not come naturally . . . .
Huw, this sounds very much like a description of a Diane Arbus photograph. . . who was one of the greatest portrait photographers ever IMHO and who, I'd bet, was an influence on many of the entrants.
To put it simply, I believe there's two branches of photography - others may disagree, this is merely my current thinking which, in the great scheme of things, counts for little - namely, populist and elitist. Populist being what AP mainly promotes and whose readership and most of the folk on this forum practice. Elitist, on the other hand is more specialist and is not so obvious to the casual viewer, it requires a bit more knowledge and an open mind (I'd place SP in this category as practiced by the great triumvirate or Frank, Winogrand & Friedlander). Of course being different doesn't make it good but it does make you ask questions, and in turn - if you wish your own photography to move on - makes you ask the same questions of your own work, and for those of us who have passed through 'populist' and on to 'elitist', well, although they're not mutually exclusive it's pretty damn close!
['elitist' is probably not a great choice of word as it conjures up just as many bad connotations as the word 'amateur', but for now it's the best I can come up with]
Again, people want different things from photograhy, some just aren't interested in the Schweppes type of photography, which is fine, but to go on the attack - as AP did - suggests that the prize winners hit a raw nerve. . . . anyone who thinks they have a picture that deserves to be a Schweppes winner - and wants to send it to us for possible publication in AP, seems rather childish.
I think that's all I've got to say on the matter, you'll be relieved to know.
I do not like the implication that 'elitist' is better than 'populist' that is like saying Opera is better than Pop.
They are different, I happen to intensly dislike 'elitist' Photograpy just as I intensly dislike modern art.
For me to progress my photography it will most certainly not move towards 'elitist' and to suggest that I am inferior is insulting.
Neill, I didn't say (or imply even) that it was better, just different, it's a mindset thing.
It does not read like that you clearly say " if you wish your own photography to move on" that implies a qualitive judgement of one being better than the other.
Is that because you genuinely think its all crap, or because you don't 'get' what the artist is saying? (I did briefly consider saying don't understand what the artist is saying there, but it might come across as judgemental, which is not the intention).
There are certainly some charlatans among the modern art/modern photography crowds, but there are also many genuine voices out there whose work is intended to make us think. I'd sooner have that placed in front of me than yet another tedious chocolate box landscape or whatever the modish 'populist' flavour of the month might be.
Sticking to portraits, two of the most striking I carry round in my head break all the rules of normality. Arnold Newman's portrait of Stravinsky (where the composer is placed down in one corner of the frame, with the open lid of a grand piano looming over him), and Jane Bown's of Mick Jagger, where the Stones' frontman is laughing loudly at some unknown joke.
Yes, without the or. I think it's crap and I don't get it
I will just have to stick to my boring crap landscapes.
Neill, I meant "move on" as opposed to taking the same photograph over and over again, many photgraphers never leave their 'comfort zone'.
I did say I wasn't great at expressing my thoughts!
If taking landscapes gives you pleasure, that's all that matters in the end (see Hicks column in AP, 10/12/05). I do wish those who submit theirs for publication would be rather more adventurous though. Am I the only one here who inwardly screams every time another "autumnal leaf stuck on a black rock in a stream" picture appears in print?
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