Sunday, 10 June 2012

POV: Have We Gone Over The Top?

Stanley Greene, in my view one of the best photojournalists in the business, just recently said “I honestly believe photography is 75 percent chance, and 25 percent skill. In accidents, we really discover the magic of photography” during the LOOK3 festival in Charlottesville.

I agree wholeheartedly. All of us will agree. We might differ as to the percentages (I'm more in the 85% in favor of serendipity camp), but the concept is right on the money. Whether in photography, photojournalism, medicine, chemistry, technology, biology, etc....accidents have led to fresh discoveries, new approaches and life changing products. No question about that.

But does this really qualify as "magic of photography"? If so, I have a lot of the same in a filing cabinet I must be a magician...and I bet you are too.

There's no question the photographer involved is talented and has produced a lot of laudable work, but is this even remotely serious?!

I agree that serendipitous accidents can produce remarkable results in photography. For example, unintentional double or triple exposures often give us wonderful images...but not everything unintentional works...and ought not to be palmed off as such.

Are our aesthetic values so impaired by Instagram, Hipstamatic, etc filters that accidental so-called "half photos" are raved about? Are we expected to genuflect in agreement to the sacred cows of photography who applaud stuff like that? And imitate other influenceable photographers who inexplicably oooh and aaah about it?

I know I won't. Show me the full frames that follow these half photos, and I'll applaud if they're good.

I realize some won't agree with me. That's fine. They might be right. I may be right. I guess it's a matter of different personal perspectives...but let's keep our feet firmly planted on level ground for a change, and call a spade for what it is...a spade.