Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh how clever.

A few years ago I had this great fantastic wonderful idea of printing my own t-shirts so that I could wear a new one every day. How else would I be able to share my thoughts and feelings with general society?

Well that is not going to happen, although I still yearn for that purple shirt with these words in shiny gold: "Your Disco Needs You."

Am enjoying the rants of MOG (Miserable Old Git) thanks to a link from Christine. His comments of this year's WPP makes me feel all kinds of good. There had already been discussion here about the strange lack of captions, and the changing visual taste of WPP juries, but I think what we really needed was a good rant like this.

I was rather undecided about the winning picture, but MOG helped me make up my mind:

...isn’t it reasonable to assume that the appropriate place to see the image that goes on to win the world’s most prestigious photojournalism competition is actually on the front pages of the world’s press? The problem is, this perfectly successful picture would just not read on an average newspaper front page; it would need a Guardian-type centre spread or magazine double page display to do it justice. Or is it really meant to be a framed print on a gallery wall? I rather think that those who guide the destiny of WPPh would not be unhappy if this were to happen.

Of course, thousands of people go to see the WPPh exhibitions all over the world but this is not press coverage in any real sense but rather photojournalism extracted from its natural context and put on the wall. There’s a danger that we will end up with a pointless parade of photojournalists as visual peacocks, displaying their beautiful feathers to each other in a secret garden.

I've met a few peacocks here and there. They are the ones who introduce their work by first listing all the awards and accolades it received. The story and the purpose takes second place. This itself is not a problem - it becomes irritating when you claim to have done the story because you want to 'help' or 'raise awareness' or 'make visible the invisible'.

And I couldn't help but laugh when I read about the CREEP:

Exhausted by his internet experience, MOG is now inviting readers of this blog to join him in a campaign for the eradication of repetitive photojournalism (CREEP). The mission statement is to encourage contemporary photojournalists to pledge to avoid predictable visual situations. Among suggested subjects generally embargoed might be:

• Women in black weeping over their dead menfolk.
• Terrified civilians running away from trouble in a crouching position.
• Posed groups of defiant rebels waving Kalashnikovs or rocket launchers, giving the victory sign.
• Soldiers on the frontline, arms at the ready, looking meaningfully at the enemy.
• Soldiers leaping out of helicopters, primed for action.
• Anyone taking, smoking or injecting drugs.
• Hell’s Angels posing with macho motorbikes.
• Frenzied music audiences screaming at rock bands.
• Skate boarders silhouetted against a brooding sky.

* Update: Have now read Matthias Bruggmann's passionate response to the article in the comments section and I'm all confused.