06 March 2007

Mind the Gap

This is a portrait of the fabulous Miles Davis; it first appeared in an advertising campaign and then in Individuals: Portraits from the Gap Collection which was selected as one of American Photo's Best Books in 2006. Yes, the Gap. Yes, award winning. All that may seem a bit perplexing. But things only get more perplexing still. Today, State of the Art, the blog housed at the American Photo reports - complete with the obligatory garnish of irony - that the International Center for Photography has bestowed yet another prize on the Gap, namely its 2007 Infiinty Award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography. Fair enough, I suppose, given that there are a ton of folks who use their talent on fashion and advertising. I am unsure where the State of Art folk get off being critical of ICP, but that is another matter. Here are the winners in various categories:

Lifetime Achievement Award: William Klein
Cornell Capa Award: Milton Rogovin
ICP Trustees Award: Karl Lagerfeld
Young Photographer: Ryan McGinley
Writing: David Levi Strauss
Publication: Somme-Nous? by Tendance Floue
Art: Tracey Moffat
Photojournalism: Christopher Morris
Applied Photography: The Gap

What I wonder is how the ICP folk can with a straight face invite the advertising/fashion crowd to the same affair where they plan to honor Milton Rogovin who was notoriously black listed for his political views, David Levi Strauss who spends much of his considerable critical capacities importuning against the propagandistic uses of photography, and photojournalist Christoher Morris, whose entire enterprise depends on a commitment to the sort of accuracy, truth and honesty that the fashion/advertising crowd do their utmost to subvert.
PS: (Added shorly later) I didn't mention the award to Lagerfeld because it seems so obvious that the ICP Trustees are simply kissing up to a celebrity with deep pockets. But, on reconsideration, perhaps that doesn't 'go without saying.'

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