18 February 2013

Picturing Rochester ~ This is 'News'?

 Eine Hausdurchsuchung. Doch dem Drogenhandel ist so nicht beizukommen. 
(A house search. But the drug trade has survived this.)
Photograph © Paolo Pellegrin für ZEITmagazin.

Last month I offered these critical comments about a project that Paolo Pellegrin did on Rochester last spring. Well, the series has taken 2nd  Prize in the General News Stories category of the World Press Photo. In my earlier comments I was pretty harsh about Pellegrin's project as an exemplar of photojournalism. My question for the judges at World Press Photo is this - where is the "News" here? The poverty, crime, racial conflict and segregation, and so forth in Rochester that Pellegrin depicts surely do not qualify. And Rochester hardly is unique in being afflicted by such blights. I have, in the past, been extremely critical here of the World Press Photo awards. Not much has changed.

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Blogger D. Ghirlandaio said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

19 February, 2013 15:52  
Blogger D. Ghirlandaio said...

Photojournalism like all journalism is hackwork. It's necessary, especially in a democracy, but the culture of professionalization means that every job performed by members of the managerial class must be seen as elevated. Simple craft isn't enough. Every teacher is a philosopher and every professional photographer is an artist.

"Serious" photojournalism works by condescension, conflating pity with concern. As a job it's voyeurism, but as art it justifies voyeurism with self-important moralizing. It's defined by packaged laziness. The conflation of pity with concern is a hallmark of liberalism, it's the product of a technocratic focus on ideas as opposed to the necessary intimacy of their enactment. Both define the weakness of second-order democracy, in spades. From an art historical viewpoint photojournalism replicates the worst of the 19th Century Paris Salon.

Movies are a series of photographs. Zero Dark 30 is a very very good movie.

Lawyers are an exception since most of them still laugh at legal philosophers, and are happy to see themselves as plying a trade. Ambulance chasers not philosophers are the foundation of democracy.

20 February, 2013 11:06  
Blogger Jack Kurtz said...

Interesting blog. I stumbled on it while researching Pelligrin's Rochester photos.

Wonder if you saw the notes about the apparently inaccurate and possibly plagiarized captions on Bag News Notes?




22 February, 2013 10:12  

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