Bravo to the award winners in this year's World Press Photo Competition. Not only are the images strong photographically and artistically, but they are also heavy with sentiment. I am impressed with the numbers of award winners who had black and white images, especially in this sometimes oversaturated colorful world. The World Press Photo jury made the right call last year when they made the manipulation rules stricter and the quality of the work speaks for itself in the winners categories.. I follow many of these photographers daily on Instagram, and they have integrity in their documentary work. The NYTimes has a nice selection here. The Atlantic also has a nice selection here. I would spend the time looking at the World Press site itself for the complete winner selections . I am putting a few of my favorites here as well...
It was more than a thrill to see Beth Cavener in person. To see her work in progress, to hear her heartfelt descriptions of her art (in particular, the portraits), and to experience her honest dialog of balancing being an artist and mother. Her art moved me, she moved me.
The top photo is my daughter watching Beth Cavener's Sculpture Demo at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Art Department. The second is “L’Amante.” What a winter's treat to have such a true artist in our far north city of Fairbanks. Thanks for coming and inspiring us Beth.
Honored to have a piece in this year's Rarefied Light Exhibition, which travels around the state all year. It is one thing to have my own work chosen but another thing to see so many of my students from UAF, former and current who were also chosen. I am so proud of them. Check out their work, http://akphotocenter.org/rarefied-light/ or just support the arts by attending First Friday.
After reading these two very different articles about photography, I am left wondering about photography's future.
Brian Storm, owner of MediaStorm suggests photographers can no longer be just still photographers. Yes, this is already true for photojournalists and documentary photographers. Storytelling is important, and variety in it is even more crucial for captivating an audience, and I look forward to researching more about MediaStorm which I knew nothing about before yesterday.
The recent NYTimes VR (virtual reality) series on 'The Displaced' is groundbreaking (for a limited audience), and is a good example of exciting interactive storytelling. And even though, the settings, subject matter, and impact of the VR stories is real and present, something is missing. The photographer's point of view, in sentiment and composition is not there. In them, the viewer can decide where to look, instead of being forced to view one still image. The viewer can negotiate the scene much like negotiating Google maps. I enjoyed the VR and look forward to the future of it with journalism. I left the VR experience thinking about the displaced, the children, their faces, and it generated a lot of internal emotion. But the images that are embedded in my mind are the still images that I saw on the NYTimes digital paper and the photographer, Lynsey Addario's IG feed, not the storytelling videos that were the hype.
Teju Cole, in his essay On Photography, talks about the power of the still image by breaking down three photographs from well-known photographers. The image, the still image, which can be viewed, dissected, and referenced over and over and over is Cole's reference point. The more we see it, the more we notice. I know from my own history as a photographer that I DO see everything in the frame, fate or no fate. I also know that I have never hung a video on my wall, or saved a video to reference for later. Once I watch it it is gone from my visual files. Once I see a heart stopping or beautiful or powerful still photograph though, I want to look and look and look, and then look some more..... for years on end....
Ryan McGinley's WINTER show opened last week in NYC. I wish I could have gone. The photos and ideas bring back my own fond memories of working with models in Alaska where snow and ice abound from October to April. McGinley's images are always beautiful in composition and light, and these are no exception. The blues and yellows are gorgeous and his snow has many colors, its true state. McGinley's models/friends always have a sense of fun, lightness, dare and freedom in their frolicking. These WINTER photos however, communicate disconnection and pain with and within the environment. They leave me wanting more though, and I hope he will consider an Alaskan winter portfolio one day.
I have been following the Lagos Photo Festival and am very impressed with the creative concepts and ideas presented and curated. If you haven't been following and need a quick fix, the NYTimes LENS photo blog gives a wonderful edit of some of the work. I can't stop looking at some of the images. They speak of race, history, current events, tragedy, and the future of Africa and it's people. The photographs make me long for a future free of race, greed, and conflict, where all people are seen as just... human.
This article is definitely worth a read for photographers, photojournalists, readers, viewers, and all students. We are all manipulated by media every day in some form. Learning how to dissect the manipulation is important. Today, where citizen journalism is increasing globally, and relied on in immediate news events, professionals face even more competition for publication, opportunities, and pay. I am glad the World Press changed their rules for next year's events. The majority of major news publications are credible and are transparent when photographers have made the mistake of manipulating an image. I do find with the University students I teach, the majority would rather manipulate in photoshop then go out and retake/reshoot for a better image. Photoshop won't make you a better photographer.
Truth is hard to define in photography because it is always subjective. I feel that if there is sentiment in a photograph, there is truth.
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