Photographs/ Photographers that make it
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18-03-11, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
This week I popped in to the Quad at Derby to look at the Format 'street photography' exhibition being held there. In my opinion ... (*takes a deep breath) .. it was mostly poorly executed uninteresting snap shots mascarading as photography. In my opinion of course.
What makes me say this? Well, one or two of the photographers had produced some really clever and engaging work but many of the others had simply produced 'snap' shots tied losely together by some supposed 'theme'.
For example; a 'panel' of 10 pictures or so held prominent place on one wall; the first picture I looked at was of a man bending down to pick up some litter next to a waste bin in some city precinct. The one next to it was of a women with a plastic bottle in her hand next to (you guessed it) a waste bin in a shopping mall or some-such place. And so this went on with all the pictures in this series shot at a distance featuring unremarkable people in unremarkable locations. If the photographer had set out to portrait life as 'unremarkable and repetitive' then they succeeded.
Another exhibitor had (apparently) stuck his camera out of the window of a car as it was being driven along and taken pictures. This resulted in a set of 20 or so shots of totally blurred and grey roadside landscape.
I took a minute or two to step back and look at the people viewing the exhibition (for a lunch time it wasn't exactly overflowing) a minority were slowly moving along the pictures looking carefully at them (4 people actually) and the rest seemed to be walking with increased bewilderment along the rows of pictures with puzzled expressions on their faces. many of them didn't make the effort of finding the other galleries and simply left after doing one quick circuit.
To be honest it was depressing. It reminded me of those art exhibitions that get mistaken for rubbish by the janitor and thrown in the rubbish bins at night. It's almost as if they are saying this is art, if you don't understand that then that's your loss.
I really wanted to see something more in what was being shown there but really struggled to see anything of merit. I'm confident in saying that had I posted many of these pics on the Critique forum here they would not necesarily got a response from anyone.
I recently picked up a book about the photographers of Life Magazine going back to the 50's and 60's - photojournalism as its best. Many of these pictures were taken hurridly and were far from perfectly exposed, or necessarily sharp, but they were stunning images, and totally engaging!
So I agree, great pictures don't have to be perfect pictures, but they still have to be great pictures, otherwise they are just 'bad' pictures!
Or am I missing something?
Last edited by Drew Smith; 18-03-11 at
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