Notes on a frozen art form from a World Press Photo juror and member of the VII photo agency.
I’ve always sort of had one foot in the photojournalism world (well, since I had both feet in a few years ago), but it always makes me uncomfortable. There is something deeply hypocritical about it to me in many ways. The collision of ideas - those that parade about championing photography for change while simultaneously being aggressive in seeking personal renown for their work that ultimately relies on the good grace, openness and blessing of strangers in what are often dire circumstances - I just can’t, and never really have been able to reconcile some of these things in my head. I could never judge each individual, only they know their true motives.
I still believe journalism is important, and photojournalism is important, but it’s not the same as it was and it doesn’t need to use the same visual language that it once did. This piece by Donald Weber, I would say, is a must read for any of my photojournalism friends and colleagues. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen to come out of all of this silly World Press hubbub where people have been stressed out about photoshop and staged pictures when the real issue is the entire box that these works are put in, when maybe they aren’t really meant to be in said box.
Edit - One thing though - I don’t really believe in the notion of Truth (as stated in headline). I think there is just honest art and communication, and work that isn’t. Each person has their own truth.