Magnum’s Nick Galvin delivers a master-classWritten by duckrabbit
on how if you think long and hard enough about any photo you can persuade yourself it’s winner (commenting on his judging of the BJP photo awards).
‘As a single image it becomes isolated, it loses context and without such context the image itself does not really dictate to the viewer what it is about; possibly it has nothing profound to say about the world beyond that the fact the photographer took a picture of a man who was using a bag of bread to shield his face as he slept.
When this image was first suggested I dismissed it – I didn’t like it, but it grew on me. Why is this? I could drone on about abstracted formal qualities, colour and textual relationships and the like but that wouldn’t answer it. I liked this image because it challenged me – challenged my assumptions about photography in ways the other images in the award didn’t. Whilst most were technically proficient, and many were good photographs, many were derivative with familiar subjects; they simply looked like other peoples work. This is a problem.‘ (full post on BJP here)
Here’s another problem. The image does come with context. There is a caption that identifies this image as having been taken on the golden mile in South Africa.
The photographer is Michelle Sank:
And this is an image by Carolle Benitah linked to in the recently announced LENS CULTURE awards:
duckrabbit respects the judges an awful lot for caring enough to explain their decision. That says a lot about the integrity of the process but I think Nick’s remarks make more sense when applied to the second image than the first. Just a thought.