Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Long Hard Look

Photograph by Samuel Aranda

There's been plenty of discussion and criticism of this year's World Press Photo winner.  A great couple of posts dealing with the subject can be found on the Russian Photos Blog and on David Campbell's blog. A read through the comments is also recommended. If anything, Samuel Aranda's image has stirred up a debate that goes to the very heart of photojournalism and photography itself. 

Personally, my attitudes to the photo have changed over the last week or so. I wasn't that taken with the photograph when i first saw it, but the composition of the image does work for me now. The way we view and understand images is often a complicated process. I often revisit work to try and figure out why i don't like it. Usually i come away with my verdict unchanged, but the Aranda image started to work the more I viewed it. I just had to look harder and make the effort to understand why the image worked.

I had similar problems with Martin Parr's work. I still have some reservations regarding certain Parr images  but at least I've changed my attitude to the composition of his photographs. I do admire Martin Parr's skill as a photographer now, though it's taken me the best part of a decade to fully turn around my opinion. Simple, photography ain't. Sometimes it takes time and effort to fully understand.

A great collection of links discussing Samuel Aranda's image can also be found here.

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