Cliché on cliché?Written by duckrabbit
I am looking forward to being surprised by imaginative photography that is original, curious, and thoughtful. I am not concerned at all about what equipment has been used, I am not sure it’s really very relevant. I would love to see a representation of the world that isn’t reductive, that doesn’t represent the world in photographic cliches – old or new cliches. Since the first year I judged the contest, I saw photographers emulating work that had been successful in previous years or plagiarizing the style and vision of someone else.
– Gary Knight, Chair of 2013 World Press Photo Contest (before he stepped down)
I agree and would like to see the same thing.
The reason why it won’t happen is because photography is not an established institution consecrated by objective form. Photographers just make up whatever rules they want for shooting… “IF it feels good, shoot it”…”Rules are meant to be broken.”….”Gear doesn’t matter”… etc etc etc
When a medium does not have an objective form, then it becomes ruled by conventional formulas associated with genres. This why most photographers are always struggling to categorize work as landscape, portrait, glamour etc. All of those categories are genres. Furthermore, the price of admission into a genre is “resemblance.” This means that all genre work is based on how similarity. Unfortunately, similarity is the opposite of originality. So it’s very difficult to expect original work to manifest itself in a photographic environment dominated by genres.
Objective form is based on metaphorical expression which means that content is arbitrary. For example, harmony can be expressed in a photograph of a supermodel, a landscape, or a pile of trash in the desert. Any object or content can be used for the expression of objective form. The point is that when photographers and audiences begin to demand and appreciate “pure forms” instead of superficial content, then the types of photographs that will be created to fill the need will begin to defy the familiar cliches present in conventional genre work.
The winning photo:
(Powerful photo. We wouldn’t expect anything less)