What Do Prizes Do for Photography? Encourage clichés and carelessness.
What I find more troubling is the topic of clichés, the tired conventions that the prize competitions simply encourage:
“Also: this is World Press Photo. A place which year after year provides a rather predictable vision of the world which, in a sort of self-castigating or suicidal mode, fits perfectly in a dwindling and whining editorial market. . . . Perpetuating an ailing system. It’s not that the photographs aren’t any good. It is that pre-formatted vision of the world I have difficulties with." ~ John VinkLast year I leveled precisely this criticism of the World Press Photo overall winner    and I have raised similar complaints in the past as well .
And, of course, I also think that the fracas over Paolo Pellegrin's visit to Rochester this year     raises important questions about the relationship between images and text, and between photographers and locations that the various prize-giving outfits - to say nothing of the photographers, editors, and so on - ought to attend to.
* Thanks to Loret Steinberg for calling this to my attention.